The Brumbies earned their fifth victory of the Super rugby season by beating the Sunwolves 41-31 at GIO stadium in Canberra.
Eleven tries in all were scored as the Brumbies outscored the Sunwolves seven tries to four but it was not until the final quarter of an hour that the Brumbies pulled away from the Japanese side.
Even when the Brumbies managed to get some breathing space on the scoreboard the persistant Sunwolves continued to press and the reward was a converted try in the final minute.
Wallabies and Brumbies winger Henry Speight scored a brace of tries in the match – both in the second half – while Hayden Parker of the Sunwolves kept his side in the match by kicking all four conversions and a penalty.
David Pocock, Lachlan McCaffrey, Thomas Banks, Andy Muirhead and Thomas Cusack all crossed the line for the Brumbies but Christian Lealiifano could only convert two of the tries. Wharenui Hawera converted Cusack’s try in the 75th minute.
Jason Emery, Hencus van Wyk, Ed Quirk and Harumichi Tatekawa scored tries for the Sunwolves.
The Brumbies opened the scoring in the fifth minute when David Pocock was able to sneak over for the opening score from a strong maul. Lealiifano converted.
Five minutes later, the Brumbies added another. Playing with the freedom seen on tour in South Africa, the Brumbies broke from 40 metres out through Joe Powell. The Wallaby halfback was somehow able to find the streaking Lachy McCaffrey who dotted down to double the Brumbies tally.
A quiet period followed, the Sunwolves coming back into the game adding their first points to the scoreboard through the boot of Hayden Parker.
It wouldn’t last long however as Tom Banks wheeled right off the back of a scrum, busted through one tackle and sprinted over for his fourth try in three games.
Lealiifano converted from the touchline and the Brumbies were firmly in the drivers seat.
With just a couple minutes remaining in the first period the Brumbies looked to exit out of their 22 when former Brumby trainee Harumichi Tatekawa was able to charge Lealiifano’s clearance down allowing Jason Emery to drive onto the ball and touch down for the visitors opening try.
Parker converted to leave the score at 19-10, which it remained as the half-time bell sounded due to Andy Muirhead’s try being disallowed for a slight knock-on in the act of scoring.
The Sunwolves came out fast in the second half, prop Hencus Van Wyk crossing the line within a minute of being on the field for their second of the night and Parker successfully added the extras.
The Brumbies wasted no time in responding however as Andy Muirhead made no mistake in his finish this time, crossing in the left-hand corner off a peachy pill from Joe Powell.
The Brumbies kept their foot on the gas and it wasn’t long before Speight had his first of the night, the Fijian Flyer galloping over unopposed to push the Brumbies lead to 29-17.
That try signalled the end of David Pocock’s night and his replacment, Tom Cusack got in on the scoring act not long after coming on, the athletic seven duking under on the left flank, Powell again providing the finishing pass.
Ed Quirk and Speight traded tries around the 70′ mark, Henry’s double coming off the back of a set-piece special initiated by Connal McInerney, who was simply outstanding in his first Super Rugby start.
The Sunwolves scored late, but the night belonged to the Brumbies, their desire to attack and execution in the final-third providing the GIO with more than their money’s worth of excitement.
The Brumbies and Sunwolves now take a three week break from Super Rugby and return for Round 17 in the final weekend in June.
Final Score Brumbies 41 (19) Sunwolves 31 (10)
Tries – D.Pocock, L.McCaffrey, T.Banks, A.Muirhead,H.Speight 2, T.Cusack
Con – C.Lealiifano 2, W.Hawera
Cards – M. Lucas (79th min yellow)
Tries – J.Emery, H. van Wyk, E.Quirk, H.Tatekawa
Pen – H.Parker
Con – H.Parker 4
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1:Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2:Graham Cooper
TMO : George Ayoub
1. Scott Sio,2. Connal McInerney,3. Allan Alaalatoa,4. Blake Enever,5. Sam Carter,6. Lachlan McCaffrey,7. David Pocock,8. Isi Naisarani,9. Joe Powell,10. Christian Lealiifano,11. Andy Muirhead,12. Kyle Godwin,13. Tevita Kuridrani,14. Henry Speight,15. Tom Banks
Replacements :16. Robbie Abel,17. Nic Mayhew,18. Ben Alexander,19. Richie Arnold,20. Tom Cusack,21. Matt Lucas,22. Wharenui Hawera,23. Andrew Smith
15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Sione Teaupa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Willie Britz (c), 5 Sam Wykes, 4 James Moore, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Craig Millar
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 19 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 20 Fetuani Lautaimi, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Gerhard van den Heever, 23 Kai Ishii