Brumbies shock Sharks to continue unbeaten run
March 16, 2013
The Crusaders' Ryan Crotty evades Zane Kirchner © Getty Images
The Brumbies continued their unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 29-10 win over the Sharks in Durban. The Canberra franchise blew away the hosts in the first-half and secured the four-try bonus point in the process. In-form fullback Jesse Mogg went over for the away side after just two minutes with Joe Tomane adding another in the eleventh minute. Matt Toomua scored their third and Henry Speight secured the bonus point after 34 minutes. The Brumbies went into the break 26-3 to the good and despite Ryan Kankowski's second-half score, the Sharks came away from the match with nothing.
The Crusaders got their campaign up and running in style thanks to a 41-19 triumph over the Bulls. The hosts scored three tries in each half, but ultimately they won the contest with a five-minute burst midway through the first stanza in which they scored two tries to cap multiple-phase passages of play. Robbie Fruean and Kieran Read grabbed those scores and Johnny McNicholl went over just before the break to give them a 22-9 half-time lead. Tom Marshall, Wyatt Crockett and Willi Heinz crashed over in the second 40 for the hosts with Deon Stegmann scoring a consolation for the travelling Bulls.
The Western Force shocked the Reds to record a 19-12 victory in Brisbane. The match marked Will Genia's comeback from injury but his opposite number Alby Mathewson was the deserved recipient of the Man of the Match award. He teed up the only try of the game with Alfi Mafi grabbing his fourth score of the season. For the Reds, their points came from Quade Cooper's boot while Sias Ebersohn finished the match with a 14-point haul for the Force.
A hat-trick to winger Lelia Masaga gave Chiefs a 35-24 win against a resolute Southern Kings outfit at Nelson Mandela Stadium. The Chiefs looked to be in control for much of the first-half with Masaga crossing for a double but Sergeal Peterson enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a breakaway try just before half-time. But two quick-fire scores from the Chiefs - with Masaga completing his hat-trick and Sam Cane also scoring - was enough to give the Waikato franchise the win. Jacques Engelbrecht went over for the Kings but it proved to be little more than a consolation score.
The Highlanders slumped to their third successive defeat of the new Super Rugby season with a 23-19 loss to the Hurricanes in Dunedin. The hosts led 19-17 with 15 minutes remaining but two penalties from Beaudan Barrett sealed the win for the Canes and left the Highlanders bottom of the New Zealand conference. Although the Highlanders did earn a losing bonus point. Hosea Gear's first-half try along with four penalties and a conversion from Colin Slade had put the Highlanders in sight of their first victory. But tries from Conrad Smith, Beaudan Barrett and TJ Perenara kept the Hurricanes in the game until Barrett delivered the final blows.
The Waratahs also suffered their third straight defeat as the lost 27-26 to the Cheetahs in Sydney, and Berrick Barnes' latest setback only compounded their misery at Allianz Stadium. Adding insult to injury, former Waratahs half-back Sarel Pretorius was the architect behind the South Africans' triumph, putting lively winger Raymond Rhule over for the match-winning try 10 minutes from full-time. A 40th-minute try to centre Adam Ashley-Cooper had given NSW an unlikely 20-17 lead at the break and the Tahs continued to hold sway for most of the second half. But after dominating possession and territory for the bulk of the match, the Cheetahs eventually broke through to back up their win last week on the road against the Highlanders.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'