Super Rugby round 11
Brumbies overpower Western Force
April 27, 2013
Henry Speight scored a spectacular try
© Getty Images
The Brumbies showed genuine Super Rugby title-winning pretensions in dismantling Western Force at Canberra Stadium to regain top spot in the Australian conference from Queensland Reds.
The Brumbies overpowered the visitors in every facet of the game, breaking out to a 29-0 advantage by half-time as the Force retreated into their shells after arriving in Canberra expressing genuine hope of a surprise on the back of improved performances against the Crusaders and the Hurricanes. Tries from Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight (two), Tevita Kuridrani, Joe Tomane and Siliva Siliva capped the Brumbies' scintillating display.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said the hosts had made a conscious effort to hit the ground running after their titanic draw with the Reds in round 10. "We had an extremely strong first 20 minutes, and that set us up for the rest of the game," Mowen said. "We spoke last week; we didn't quite get the result in Brisbane but we got a lot of momentum out of it and we trained like we know where we want to be and we want to keep pushing our game, keep developing it, and tonight's another step towards that."
Mowen said also that the Brumbies continued to add to their game plan each week, to ensure they presented multidimensional opposition in every game. "We continue to push out strategy each week, and we had to play a very disciplined style last week because conditions demanded it. But tonight we tried a few things early, and they worked so we could open up a bit."
Force captain Matt Hodgson, who scored his side's only try from a driving maul late in the second half, conceded the Brumbies "were a good outfit tonight", but he said the result was "disappointing for us after two solid performances in the last two weeks". Hodgson said "we didn't do the right things" and "gave it away too easy" to test the Brumbies.
The Brumbies started with a bang, and barely four minutes had elapsed before the home fans were on their feet as the hosts opened the scoring. Sucking in the Force cover defence, after a drive from a lineout, the Brumbies created space wide where full-back Mogg crashed through an attempted tackle to score an unconverted try.
There was certainly intent among the Brumbies players to run the ball at any given opportunity and, such was their monopoly of possession, they had plenty of chances to do so as the backs were given free rein to showcase their talents in front of an appreciative crowd. And it was no surprise when another flowing move culminated in Speight coming in off the right wing to streak through the defence and dive under the posts in the 18th minute.
A straightforward penalty from Christian Lealiifano made it 15-0 halfway through the first stanza before the rampant Brumbies crossed again. Once more the backs were given space to work their magic by a strong forward platform, and Kuridrani showed his upper body strength in carrying a would-be tackler over the line for the third try, after which Lealiifano duly added the extras. Such was the home team's authority that they grabbed a bonus point before the break as Speight cantered over unopposed for his second try, after an unselfish pass from flanker George Smith, with Lealiifano's conversion completing a brilliant opening half.
Force coach Michael Foley must have had some harsh words for his team during the interval as they came out fighting, in one case literally, leading to the sin-binning of Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore. But the Force could make no inroads, even with their numerical superiority, and the Brumbies stretched the lead even further with a fifth try. After another Force error, this time at a lineout, the Brumbies worked the ball through several phases and shifted it left to the waiting Tomane. The winger still had plenty to do, but he showed jet-heeled acceleration to burst from the defence and sneak in at the corner for a magnificent score.
Brumbies coach Jake White emptied the bench, with a number of his big hitters leaving the field to rapturous applause, but the Force remained on the back foot and it was only a matter of time before the hosts crossed for a sixth try - replacement Siliva burrowing over after another concerted phase of home pressure.
The Force regained some pride as the forward pack mauled the Brumbies over the tryline and Hodgson emerged from the pile of bodies to be credited with the five-pointer, but the visitors' effort was too little too late.
The Brumbies impressed in dismantling Western Force (video available only in Australia)