The University of Canberra Brumbies have opened their South African tour with a big win over the Sharks in Durban, 29-10 on Sunday morning (AEDT).
It was the University of Canberra Brumbies seventh consecutive win away from home, breaking the Super Rugby record of six which they had shared with the Crusaders.
Head Coach Jake White said he was pleased with the performance.
“The first half in particular was very pleasing. We used our chances and played to our strengths in defence and attack,” White said.
“The Sharks are a good side, so to come away from Durban with a bonus point is mission accomplished. Obviously there are areas we will work on for next weekend, but overall as a coach you’ve got to be happy with a result like that.
“Fotu had a big game. He led from the front and worked hard to get us over the advantage line. But it’s tough to single out guys when the team played so well as a unit.”
For the first time in 2013, there was a new predator in the Shark Tank.
The first half was the Brumbies most impressive this season, laying on four tries and a bonus point before the buzzer.
The Brumbies Samoan contingency of Joe Tomane, Fotu Auelua, Christian Lealiifano, Scott Sio and Matt Toomua proved tough to stop. Auelua was particularly destructive and eventually grabbed the fixture’s Man of the Match honours.
Between the five players, the Brumbies had enough go forward to rattle the Sharks and muscle up on a forward pack laden with Springboks. It was the perfect platform for the Brumbies backs to fire from, with Toomua, Henry Speight, Tomane and Jesse Mogg all crossing before half time.
Mogg and Tomane’s tries were the result of some smooth ball shifting, with both players finding the corners to open the bidding.
Pat Lambie managed to keep the Sharks in the game at 12-3, but the revival was short lived as Toomua stumbled over for the Brumbies third. When Speight out-sprinted the Sharks entire backline to score the fourth try of the first half, the Brumbies had their sails full of wind and looked good enough to leave Durban with five points.
The Sharks came out of the sheds a far more committed team, with No. 8, Ryan Kankowski, grabbing the first try of the second half from close range. The locals peppered the Brumbies with some more expansive play, but the rain belting King’s Park made it tough for the locals to gain any real momentum.
Lealiifano added a final penalty with 10 minutes to play, suffocating the Sharks hopes for an unlikely come-from-behind victory.
The University of Canberra Brumbies face the Stormers in Cape Town next Sunday morning at 4.10am.
University of Canberra Brumbies 29 (Jesse Mogg, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Henry Speight tries; Christian Lealiifano 3 cons, 1 pen) bt Sharks 10 (Ryan Kankowski try; Patrick Lambie con, pen).
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Scott Sio (replaced by Ruaidhri Murphy)
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Siliva Siliva)
3. Ben Alexander
4. Peter Kimlin (replaced by Colby Faingaa)
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Mowen
7. George Smith
8. Fotu Auelua (replaced by Scott Fardy)
9. Nic White (replaced by Ian Prior)
10. Matt Toomua
11. Joe Tomane
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight (replaced by Clyde Rathbone)
15. Jesse Mogg (replaced by Robbie Coleman)
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Scott Fardy
19. Colby Faingaa
20. Ian Prior
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Clyde Rathbone