Brumbies get the job done
The Brumbies joined the Chiefs in securing their place in the 2014 play-offs after they thumped the Western Force 47-25 in Canberra on Friday.
Seven tries were scored by the home side and fly-half Matt Toomua claimed three of those as the Brumbies look a threat going into the knockouts.
It was the Toomua show in the first half-hour as the Wallaby centre, playing ten for the Brumbies, got over twice as the home side went 16-6 up.
His first came in the sixth minute after a nice passage from the home side put the Canberra side 5-0 to the good. It was a powerful finish.
That score fell in the middle of Nic White and Jayden Hayward missing respective penalty attempts but Brumbies centre Christian Lealiifano made no mistake on 15 minutes to make it 8-0 before Hayward found his range, firing over two three-pointers to cut the lead to just two points.
Steve Walsh penalised Force prop Pek Cowan soon after which gifted the Brumbies three points before Toomua went over for his brace. His second was a case of sustained pressure leading to front-rows being out wide and the Wallaby spotted this and duly pounced.
At 16-6 the next points before the break would be critical and they ultimately went the way of the home side, who were purring in this regular-season finale. It arrived from a Scott Sio carry which created quick ball for Toomua and led to Clyde Rathbone finding Jesse Mogg.
More tries would follow after the resumption and it didn't take long for the Brumbies to put daylight between them and the Force, with Henry Speight showing real strength and speed down the right wing on 43 minutes. Lealiifano's conversion made it a 22-point advantage.
There was however hope for Western Force ten minutes later when a double boost for Michael Foley's side saw Brumbies openside flanker Jarrad Butler sent to the sin-bin straight after looshead prop Cowan had powered over. Suddenly a fifteen-point margin with plenty of time remaining on the clock gave a feeling the Force had a lifeline in Canberra.
It proved to be false hope though as with Toomua racing down the right thanks to excellent work against from soon-to-be Wallaby Speight, it was now 35-18 with the successful kick.
Chris Tuatara-Morrison's well-taken score following a chip kick from Dane Haylett-Petty was soon matched by replacement Joe Tomane racing over after picking up a loose ball on halfway, with the game opening up as both teams chanced their arm in the dying embers.
One sensed more tries were coming.
And they certainly did as Force fly-half Zach Holmes enjoyed an easy run in on the right wing on 72 minutes before fittingly the Brumbies had the final say, with ex Red and replacement back-row forward Tom McVerry at the back of a driving maul to add the icing on the cake.
Tries: Toomua 3, Mogg, Speight, Tomane, McVerry
Con: Lealiifano 3
Pen: Lealiifano 2
Tries: Cowan, Tuatara-Morrison, Holmes
Con: Hayward, Ebersohn
Pen: Hayward 2
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Leon Power, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Ruaidhri Murphy, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Pat McCabe
Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (capt), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Sias Ebersohn, 23 Luke Burton.
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Andrew Lees
TMO: Steve Leszczynski