Super Rugby round-up
Waratahs book a play-off place
June 28, 2014
The Brumbies' Tevita Kuridrani and Nic White tackle the Waratahs' Adam Ashley-Cooper © Getty Images
The Waratahs brushed aside the Brumbies with a bonus point win as Alofa Alofa crossed twice in a 39-8 victory in Sydney. The Tahs scored five tries through Alofa, Benn Robinson, Bernard Foley and Wycliff Palu, while Jesse Mogg scored the only touchdown for the Brumbies. The result means that the Waratahs moved to the top of the Super Rugby standings and will definitely feature in the play-offs.
The Hurricanes boosted their hopes by defeating the Crusaders 16-9 in an arm-wrestle in Wellington. Two fine tries from second-row Blade Thomson - one in each half - proved decisive after the Hurricanes had lost influential players Victor Vito and Alapati Leiua to leg injuries inside eight minutes, the second-rower collecting a grubber kick from wing Cory Jane and racing 50 metres to touch down seven minutes from full-time to complete his double and ice the verdict.
Beauden Barrett, who had an excellent game with some typical elusive running, failed to land the sideline conversion that would have opened the margin beyond seven points, and the resulting bonus point for the Crusaders ensured the seven-time champions maintained top spot in the New Zealand conference, ahead of the Highlanders on countback.
The Blues delivered a hammer blow to Western Force's hopes of claiming a maiden Super Rugby finals berth, scoring four tries in athe opening quarter before producing resolute defence to withstand almost everything the hosts threw at them. The match was dead as a contest in 18 minutes, with Ihaia West, Charlie Faumuina, Lolagi Visinia and Ma'a Nonu crossing for the visitors. Western Force tried hard and dominated possession thereafter, but they were unable to breach the Blues until the 65th minute, by which time Luke Braid had extended the visitors' lead - the Blues driving their captain over the line under the goalposts after a series of offloads.
Nathan Charles got the Force off the mark when he scored after a quick tap penalty taken by captain Matt Hodgson, and Brynard Stander gave the hosts something else to take away from the game when he dotted down under the posts at the death.
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