Canberra Super Rugby franchise the Brumbies earned their third consecutive victory over a strruggling Waratahs side with a 12-28 victory in Sydney.
The Brumbies victory is their second this season and their first away from home while the Waratahs have now slipped to three straight losses this season and three in a row against the Brumbies.
In 2016 the Brumbies beat the Waratahs home and away which makes this the first time the Brumbies have won back to back matches in Sydney. The Brumbies victory is also their ninth consecutive Australian derby victory.
With the scores level 7-all at half time the Brumbies set up the victory with two quick tries in the 58th and 60th minute.
Winger Henry Speight added a second try with five minutes remaining which put the result beyond doubt.
Following almost a week of torrential rain in Sydney, the surface at the Allianz Stadium was soft underfoot and cut up early making for tricky conditions for both sets of players.
As such the ability of the forwards to make damaging metres with ball in hand was paramount and it was the home side that made the initial inroads.
Eschewing the opportunity for an early shot at goal, the Waratahs opted for a succession of line-outs close to the Brumbies line and, after the team conceded a trio of penalties, flanker Scott Fardy was shown a yellow card.
A score seemed inevitable and it duly arrived when, after a series of drives sucked in the Brumbies defence, prop forward Tom Robertson picked up to blast his way over from close range with Reece Robinson adding the conversion.
It was a sluggish start from the Brumbies who struggled to maintain possession and get a foothold in Waratahs territory. Turnover ball proliferated making it difficult for the backs to get their hands on the ball and offer much in attack.
To compound matters the Brumbies were forced into an early change when hooker Josh Mann-Rea hobbled from the field to be replaced by Robbie Abel.
Finally finding a stable platform the visitors were able exert some pressure on the Waratahs defence and, after a driving maul was halted, the ball was swung left and Tevita Kuridrani brushed off a tackle to score under the posts, allowing Wharenui Hawera to level the scores with the simple conversion.
Both sides huffed and puffed thereafter with no tangible reward leaving the teams deadlocked 7-7 at the interval.
The second began in much the same fashion as the first with a scrappy opening not helped by an injury to Waratahs flanker Jack Dempsey who was stretchered from the field, allowing former Brumby Michael Wells to see some action from the bench.
A slippery ball meant it was back to basics for both outfits and a forward grind ensued, with some outstanding scrambling defence not allowing either set of half-backs the chance to get any cohesive movement going.
Whilst that may not have been what the vast majority of the crowd wanted to see, for the rugby purist the match became a battle of wills as much as skills. And it was the Brumbies who dug deep.
Hawera declined and eminently kickable shot at goal to elect for the corner and, from the resultant line-out, Carter caught and the fabled rolling maul allowed Abel to crash his way over amongst a pile of white-clad shirts. Hawera confidently slotted the extras.
What followed was simply extraordinary. Deep inside Brumbies territory Joe Powell chipped over the flat Waratahs defence and allowed Speight to burst onto the bouncing ball.
The flying winger collected, rushed past a tackle, kicked ahead and regathered to register his third try of the season and his 150th Super Rugby point. Hawera again nailed the conversion and the lead went out to 21-7.
But the Waratahs weren’t done and they hit back moments later as replacement Jake Gordon was on the end of a well-orchestrated move to cross. Robinson however was awry with the conversion leaving the Brumbies nine ahead with fifteen minutes to play.
The Brumbies secured the points when Speight broke away from two challenges with five minutes to play to grab his second, Hawera’s fourth conversion the icing on the cake for the Brumbies.
Next week the Brumbies host the Highlanders at home in Canberra while the Waratahs travel to Melbourne to face fellow strugglers the Rebels.
Final Score Waratahs 12 (7) Brumbies 28 (7)
Tries – T.Robertson, J.Gordon
Con – R.Robertson
Tries – T. Kuridrani, R.Abel, H.Speight 2
Con – W.Hawera 4
Cards – S.Fardy (7th min yellow)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:Will Houston
TMO : Ian Smith
Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson, Israel Folau, Irae Simone, Rob Horne, Bryce Hegarty, Nick Phipps, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper (c), Jack Dempsey, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson
Replacements: Hugh Roach, Paddy Ryan, David Lolohea, David McDuling, Ned Hanigan, Michael Wells, Jake Gordon, David Horwitz
Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Nigel Ah Wong, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Jordan Smiler, Lolo Fakaosilea, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (c), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander
Replacements: Robbie Abel, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Blake Enever, Ben Hyne, De Wet Roos, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Smith