Super Rugby Round-up
Brumbies hit Force for six
April 27, 2013
The Brumbies' Henry Speight scores a spectacular try against the Force © Getty Images
The Brumbies showed genuine Super Rugby title-winning pretensions in dismantling Western Force 41-7 at Canberra Stadium to regain top spot in the Australian conference from the Reds.
The Brumbies overpowered the visitors in every facet of the game, breaking out to a 29-0 advantage by half-time thanks to two tries from Henry Speight and further scores from Jesse Mogg and Christian Lealiifano as the Force retreated into their shells having arrived in Canberra expressing genuine hope of a surprise on the back of improved performances against the Crusaders and the Hurricanes. Joe Tomane and Siliva Siliva heaped further woe on the Fforce after the break with Matt Hodgson ensuring the visitors at least troubled the scoreboard with a late try.
Earlier in the day, the Chiefs showed great character and perseverance to win 37-29 against a resilient Sharks outfit at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. The hosts broke out to a 24-0 lead inside 20 minutes with tries from Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams before the Sharks fought back to reduce the margin to 24-19 with two scores by Derick Minnie either side of another from Lubabalo Mtembu, and the anxiety among the supporters in the stands was palpable. But the Chiefs rediscovered their attacking bravado, with their character in question, and they secured a victory that could make their season thanks to another try from Nanai-Williams and the boot of Mark Anscombe.
The Bulls cemented their place at the top of the South African conference with a 30-19 victory over the Waratahs in Pretoria. But the Cheetahs remain hot on their heels following their 26-12 win against the Southern Kings in Bloemfontein. Tries by wingers Raymond Rhule and Willie le Roux and flanker Lappies Labuschagne set up the Cheetahs' seventh win in ten games, taking them back into the top six in what is shaping up to be their best campaign.
A heavily fatigued Reds side hung on for a gutsy 12-11 victory over the Blues in their clash at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Friday night. In-form five-eighth Quade Cooper kicked four penalty goals, including a high-pressure attempt from out wide in the 75th minute, to steal the four points and set the seal on the first-ever sweep of all New Zealand opposition by an Australian side in the history of the competition. . The Blues scored the only try of the match and expertly ran the tired Reds around the park. Queensland were feeling the effects of last week's energy-sapping 19-19 draw with the Brumbies after a short six-day turnaround. But John Kirwan's side failed to deliver the killer blow in the frenetic and highly physical encounter in front of an appreciative crowd of 31,050.
The Crusaders escaped with a 30-26 victory over Melbourne Rebels at AMI Stadium on Sunday, but only after the battlers of the Australian conference had given the seven-time Super Rugby champions an almighty scare in Christchurch. The hosts scored two tries in the opening 12 minutes, when they looked set to blow the lowly Rebels away, but they were eventually made to work hard for their victory.
Unanswered tries from Rebels players Scott Higginbothom, James O'Conner and Ged Robinson saw the visitors hit the front for the first time late in the contest, but Tom Taylor landed his fifth and sixth penalty goals in the final 10 minutes to ensure the home victory that saw the Crusaders leap-frog the Hurricanes into third place in the New Zealand conference on 30 points.
Elsewhere, the Stormers claimed a narrow 18-16 victory over the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby clash in Palmerston North. Both sides scored two tries with winger Gio Aplon getting what turned out to be the winner midway through the second half but it was the visitors' defensive tenacity that laid the foundation for their victory.
The Hurricanes had a good share of possession in the final quarter, but found the South Africans' defence too rigid to breach again. The result gave the Stormers a winning start to their four-match Australasian tour and lifted them above the Hurricanes in the middle of the overall standings.
More to follow...
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