Brumbies thrash Force to return to the top
The Brumbies returned to the summit of the Super Rugby ladder with an emphatic 41-7 win over the Force, while the Chiefs edged the Sharks 37-29.
The Brumbies returned to the summit of the Super Rugby ladder in emphatic fashion, earning a bonus-point 41-7 win against the Western Force in Canberra on Saturday.
Henry Speight scored twice while Jesse Mogg, Tevita Kuridrani, Joseph Tomane and Siliva Siliva all ran in tries to see the Brumbies overtake the Reds at the top of the Australian conference and overall ladder.
In the night’s other match, the Chiefs returned to the top of the New Zealand conference with a 37-29 win over the Sharks in Hamilton.
At half-time in Canberra, Speight already had his double as the Brumbies led 29-0 at the break, after Mogg opened the floodgates in the fifth minute when he scored his fifth try of the season.
Speight had his first of two when he pounced on a quick ball to beat the flailing Force defence, before Kuridrani ghosted past his marker to score out wide.
Speight sealed the bonus point with his second inside the first stanza, drawing the last defender out wide before beating him comfortably.
We want to see a week-to-week improvement, take our game to the next level and I think we saw that here tonight.Brumbies captain Ben Mowen
Matt Toomua set up Tomane to score 10 minutes after the interval, before Siliva Siliva put the hosts 41-0 up following Robbie Coleman’s crafty offload.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen praised his side’s tempo and determination to build on recent results.
“It’s really good, that’s the top performance we spoke about all week,” he told Grandstand post-match.
“We want to see a week-to-week improvement, take our game to the next level and I think we saw that here tonight.
“We wanted to play a very up-tempo game against them, we needed to make sure we put a lot of pressure on them physically, early, with our carry and cycle.
“I think as a group we’re really happy with the results there, in the end.”
The Force had a consolation try late on as Matthew Hodgson scored off a well-worked rolling maul following the line-out.
The loss means the Force remain in 13th place.
Brumbies: 41 (H Speight 2, J Mogg, T Kuridrani, J Tomane, S Siliva tries; C Lealiifano 4/6 cons, 1/1 pen)
Force: 7 (M Hodgson try; J Hayward 1/1 con)
Chiefs repel Shark attack to top conference
The Chiefs returned to the top of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference with a 37-29 win over the Sharks in an electric game in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Chiefs were sitting pretty with a 24-0 lead halfway through the first stanza after Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams each scored tries in a seven-minute purple patch.
But the Sharks responded with some systematic phase play to fight back with tries to Derick Minnie and number eight Lubabalo Mtembu, before Minnie crashed over for his second just before the siren.
Having seen a 24-point lead whittled down to five, the Chiefs drew first blood in the second half when Nanai-Williams pounced on a Sharks error at the back to score his second of the night.
The lead was quickly reined in when the Sharks snatched the ball out of Chiefs hands before lock Wiehahn Herbst found Keegan Daniel speeding away to narrow the scores to 34-26 after the conversion.
Disappointing from our point of view to let them come back but they showed a lot of fight.Chiefs skipper Craig Clarke
The Sharks sought out a grandstand finish when Patrick Lambie kicked for three points late on, but the visitors contrived to concede a penalty right in front of the posts after the siren.
Aaron Cruden stepped up to knock over the penalty, securing his 400th points in Super Rugby and denying the Sharks a second bonus point.
“We had a really fast start and maybe we thought it was too easy,” Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said.
“Disappointing from our point of view to let them come back but they showed a lot of fight.”
The win puts the Chiefs back on top of New Zealand’s conference, while South Africa’s Sharks are back on top of their group despite losing, with the bonus point putting them level with the Bulls but ahead on for-and-against.
Chiefs: 37 (T Nanai-Williams 2, A Tikoirotuma, B Aki tries; G Anscome 4/4 cons, 2/2 pens; A Cruden 1/1 pens)
Sharks: 29 (D Minnie 2, L Mtembu, K Daniel tries; P Lambie 3/4 cons, 1/2 pens)