SYDNEY – The Brumbies ran in six tries to storm back to the top of the Super Rugby AU standings with an emphatic 38-11 bonus point victory over the Waratahs at a chilly Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
Winger Tom Wright and number eight Pete Samu scored two tries apiece in the second half and Andy Muirhead and Ryan Lonergan crossed in the first as the twice Super Rugby champions got back to winning ways after a loss to the Melbourne Rebels.
The 16 changes coach Dan McKellar made to his matchday squad had the desired effect and a fifth win in six matches gave the Brumbies a two-point advantage over the Queensland Reds with two rounds remaining before the playoffs.
“The first half was very tight but the way we came out in the second half was a huge effort,” said Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa.
“Definite improvement on the last game.”
The Waratahs kept the contest close in the first half and drew to within a point at 12-11 at the break after loose forward Jack Dempsey scored a try off the back of a tackle-busting run from hooker Tom Horton.
They had some success in nullifying the home side’s trademark rolling maul but were unable to contain the Brumbies on the outside with five of the tries they conceded being scored in the corners.
The Waratahs had their share of misfortune as well with scrumhalf Lonergan clearly offside when he scored off Bayley Kuenzle’s through kick in the 15th minute only for the TMO to allow the try to stand after reviewing the video replay.
The visitors would have needed more than that decision being reversed to secure a third successive victory, however, and will probably need to beat the Rebels next week in their final match of the regular season to stand a chance of making the playoffs.