Brumbies bump off Sharks
The Brumbies underlined their Super Rugby title credentials with a commanding 29-10 victory over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The tournament leaders comprehensively outplayed the Sharks, outscoring their hosts four tries to one, and stretched their lead at the top of the overall standings.
They are now the only side in the competition yet to taste defeat and showed they will be the team to beat in 2013 after another impressive performance.
Whilst the tourists could only manage three points in the second half, the damage had already been done in the opening forty minutes and headed into the half-time sheds 26-3 ahead - leaving the Sharks with a mountain to climb.
The Australians showed no sign of jetlag and started in stunning fashion as Jake White's troops raced to a 12-0 lead in as many minutes when Jesse Mogg opened the scoring with a try in the corner, before Joe Tomane added his name to the scoresheet - both set up by bull-dozing number eight Fotu Auelua.
Christian Lealiifano was succesful with one out of the two conversions.
There was finally some respite for the hosts at the end of the first quarter when the visitors were penalised for not rolling away allowing Patrick Lambie to slot over the ball from bang in front.
But the men from Canberra continued to soar in attack and Matt Toomua was next to cross after more slick handling and superb recycling in the lead-up.
With five minutes remaining to the interval, the Brumbies secured their bonus-point try when their forwards emphatically overturned a scrum and Toomua floated a fine pass over to Henry Speight on the right to dot down in the corner.
That rounded off a superb opening showing and left the home crowd in shock as their side trailed by 23 points.
The visitors again began with some intent after the restart and twice turned down the chance to kick at goal, instead opted to set-up line-outs.
But the Sharks slowly clawed their way back, eventually scoring their only try when Ryan Kankowski picked up and carried over following a spate of penalties conceded by the Australians inside their own 22.
The Brumbies' first points of the second half eventually came from a Lealiifano penalty after Kankowski was punished for an illegal tackle and they continued to control thereafter until the final hooter sounded.
Tries: Mogg, Tomane, Toomua, Speight
Cons: Lealiifano 3
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Keegan Daniel (c), 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.
Brumbies 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen (c), 5 Sam Carter, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)