Cape Town - The Brumbies wrapped up the Australian conference with a 35-24 victory over the Waratahs in Super Rugby Round 17 action at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday.
It was the men from the capital's fifth win on the trot against the Waratahs and effectively ended the Sydneysiders' hopes of making the playoffs.
It took 10 minutes for the scoreboard to be affected, with the Waratahs kicking upfield and putting Brumbies winger Andrew Muirhead under loads of pressure before counter-rucking and winning back possession. Thereafter, they took the ball through 15 phases and after winning the penalty right in front, decided to settle for the three.
Five minutes later, the visitors opened their account. 'Tahs scrum-half Nick Phipps was penalised for hands in the ruck and the Brumbies kicked for the corner to set up the five-metre lineout before Rory Arnold stretched over after a series of powerful carries from the forwards.
Soon after, Dan McKellar's side grabbed their second try. Tom Banks made the yardage on the overlap down the right-hand side. The ball was recycled through a couple of phases, before Muirhead crashed over with the support of Irae Simone behind him. Christian Lealiifano added his second conversion in quick succession for a 14-3 lead with 20 minutes gone.
Just a few minutes later, the away side had their third. A couple of brilliant runs, first from Augustine Pulu and then from Tevita Kuridrani, took the ball into a good position before Simone took it over the line for another brilliant try.
In the 33rd minute, Waratahs captain Michael Hooper was blown up for a deliberate knockdown as the Brumbies kicked for the corner once again. Folau Fainga'a dotted down for his 11th Super Rugby try of the season from the back of the resulting well-worked lineout driving maul as the visitors took a 28-3 lead into the interval once Lealiifano converted.
The 'Tahs made an ideal start to the second half when Phipps made a sniping dart from close range and deceived the Brumbies defence with a dummy to dot down.
The Sydneysiders were exerting all of the pressure but the Brumbies defence held firm until the hosts finally got their second try with ten minutes to go. Foley's deft grubber kick was well run on to by Adam Ashley-Cooper who completed the finish. Foley cut the deficit to 11 with the conversion.
However, Tom Cusack extinguished any hopes of a Waratahs' comeback when he powered over after breaking off the back of an attacking scrum with five minutes to go to seal the win although the Waratahs were last to score through Curtis Rona in his final game for the franchise.
Tries: Nick Phipps, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Curtis Rona
Conversions: Bernard Foley (3)
Penalties: Bernard Foley
Tries: Rory Arnold, Andy Muirhead, Irae Simone, Folau Fainga’a, Thomas Cusack
Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (5)
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damian Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Tautalatasi Tasi, 23 Cam Clark
15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Leali’ifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Lealuaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright