The Brumbies regained their position at the top of the Australian conference with a 42-19 victory over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The visitors were targeting top spot in their conference after the Melbourne Rebels had dropped points in their loss to the Waratahs on Friday.
While they did not start the game ideally, conceding a try to big wing Hosea Saumaki virtually off the kick off, they quickly took control of the tie, boosted by a second-half hat-trick from hooker Connal Mcinerney.
The Brumbies are now four points clear and will be looking for a stong finish with games against the Waratahs and Reds to come.
The hosts got off to a flying start, opening the scoring through Saumaki, who scored after retrieving a kick from fullback Semisi Masirewa. However, the Brumbies hit back soon after as Simone broke the line and found Pete Samu in support for their first try. Simone then went over for a try of his own before Tom Banks crossed from a counter-attack as the visitors started to take control.
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The Sunwolves did give their fans something to shout about as Masirewa scored just before the break to make it 21-12 at half-time.
There was a flurry of tries just after half-time as replacement hooker Mcinerney scored a brace either side a try from Sunwolves scrumhalf Jamie Booth. Mcinerney then sealed an emphatic win when he grabbed his hat-trick in the final 10 minutes.
Sunwolves – Tries: Hosea Saumaki, Semisi Masirewa, Jamie Booth. Conversions: Hayden Parker (2).
Brumbies – Tries: Pete Samu, Irae Simone, Tom Banks, Connal Mcinerney (3). Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (6).
Sunwolves – 15 Semisi Masirewa, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Ben Gunter, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Alex Woonton.
Subs: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Conan O’Donnell, 19 Yuya Odo, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Takuya Yamasawa, 23 Timothy Lafaele.
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Rob Valentini, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright.