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Tahs tamed as Brumbies take top spot
The University of Canberra Brumbies demolished the Waratahs 35-6 on Saturday night to go top of the Super Rugby ladder ahead of their tour to South Africa.
Winning was made sweeter with a four-try bonus point clinched in the final moments by Robbie Coleman, who steamed onto a chip kick from behind halfway.
Disappointingly for the University of Canberra Brumbies, star recruit David Pocock left the field with a knee injury midway through the first half. Pocock will have scans on Saturday night in Canberra and coaches will have a better idea of where he stands on Sunday.
Pocock was replaced by George Smith, who made his first appearance for the Brumbies since 2010.
It’s the first time the Brumbies have beaten the Waratahs in three consecutive games and maintains the team’s perfect second half record in 2013.
“It’s fantastic for us,” Head Coach Jake White said.
“It’s one of the most complete performances we’ve had as a group. We reflected on it a bit in the change rooms but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves, it’s time to refocus and get ready to set that same standard in Africa.
“That was a massive game and now that’s the benchmark for us. There’s no reason we can’t play like that every week against any opposition.
“The whole squad has grown, but we mustn’t underestimate the fact that they are led by a fantastic captain and with guys like George here the leadership in the group is very strong.”
The Brumbies opened the scoring with three quick penalties to lead 9-0 after as many minutes. Skipper Ben Mowen opened the try-scoring with a five-pointer from close range and when Man-of-the-Match Christian Lealiifano collected a clever Jesse Mogg kick for the Brumbies were clear by two tries.
Waratahs scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin booted two first half penalties, but the scoring would finish there for NSW. Moving to round five of the competition, the Brumbies are yet to have their line crossed at Canberra Stadium.
The second half played out similarly to the first, with the Brumbies opening the try-scoring thanks to Henry Speight who claimed his third five-pointer against the Tahs in as many appearances.
Coleman’s try made the evening for the 20,027 punters who turned out in support of the Brumbies, as he serendipitously linked with Mogg to move the ball 90 metres and seal the bonus-point victory.
The University of Canberra Brumbies leave Canberra for South Africa on Sunday where they will face the Sharks and the Stormers.
University of Canberra Brumbies 35 (Robbie Coleman, Christian Lealiifano, Ben Mowen, Henry Speight tries Lealiifano 2, Ian Prior cons Lealiifano 3 pens) bt NSW Waratahs 6 (Brendan McKibbin 2 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Jonathan White. Crowd: 20,027.
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Siliva Siliva)
3. Dan Palmer (replaced by Scott Sio)
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter (replaced by Fotu Auelua)
6. Peter Kimlin
7. David Pocock (replaced by George Smith)
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White (replaced by Ian Prior)
10. Matt Toomua
11. Clyde Rathbone (replaced by Robbie Coleman)
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Andrew Smith (replaced by Joe Tomane)
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Scott Sio
18. Fotu Auelua
19. George Smith
20. Ian Prior
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Joe Tomane