The Brumbies handed the Sunwolves another hefty defeat on Friday by proving too strong in a 47-14 victory in Wollongong, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
In what was the very first Vodacom Super Rugby double-header, the Sunwolves faced another stern test after the thumping they received at the hands of the Hurricanes last weekend, while the Brumbies were looking to continue their fine start to the season as Australian Conference leaders.
As expected the Brumbies were out of the blocks quickly through two perfectly executed tries by scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan and flanker Will Miller to race to a 14-0 lead.
The Sunwolves began to fight back, though, and managed to build some phases in the Brumbies half, which led to a 5m line-out for the Japanese team.
A dominant and powerful maul saw hooker Efitusi Ma’afu dive over with the momentum to open the Sunwolves’ account as Garth April slotted the conversion.
But, the Brumbies struck back on the stroke of half-time when their backline created an overlap that led to a relatively easy run-in try for Rob Valetini. Lonergan converted from the touchline to give the team from Canberra a 21-0 lead at the break.
They would carry that momentum into the second 40 minutes as the Sunwolves’ wheels began to fall off due to the physical dominance of the Brumbies pack.
It led to tries by Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani and Solomone Kata as the Brumbies opened a 40-7 lead on the hour mark.
The Sunwolves managed to hit back in the final 10 minutes through a try by lock Michael Stolberg but the Brumbies would have the final say of the match with replacement scrumhalf Joe Powell scoring his team’s seventh try of the encounter to seal a bonus-point victory.
Sunwolves – Tries: Efitusi Ma’afu, Michael Stolberg. Conversion: Garth April, Jumpei Ogura.
Brumbies – Tries: Ryan Lonergan, Will Miller, Rob Valetini, Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Solomone Kata, Joe Powell. Conversions: Ryan Lonergan (5), Reesjan Pasitoa
Sunwolves – 15 Yoshizumi Takeda, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Siosaia Fifita, 12 Shogo Nakano, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (c), 7 Justin Downey, 6 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Efitusi Ma’afu, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Subs: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Jarred Adams, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Keisuke Moriya.
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (c), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Tom Wright.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images