Super Rugby

Brilliant Brumbies batter struggling Sunwolves

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The Brumbies battered the struggling Sunwolves 14-47 at a windy WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

The Brumbies ran in seven tries as they secured another bonus-point victory, which tightens their grip on the Australian Conference, on a windy day at the beach.

The game was initially scheduled to be played in Osaka.

But because of the severity of the deadly Coronavirus outbreak in Japan, the Sunwolves matches have been moved out of the country.

Their clash with the defending champions Crusaders in Tokyo has also been moved to Australia with that game to be played in Brisbane on March 14.

Ryan Lonergan, Will Miller and Rob Valetini scored before halftime to kick-start the Aussies.

Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani and Solomone Kata added three tries before the hour as the Brumbies battered the struggling Sunwolves.

Joe Powell also got in on the act with a last-ditch try of his own to put the added gloss to the scoreboard.

Super Rugby Video Highlights: Sunwolves versus Brumbies at WIN Stadium, Wollongong

The Canberra-based franchise scored three tries to one, taking a 14-point lead into the break.

Ryan Lonergan, Miller and Valetini, who set-up Lonegran’s try, all crossed as the Brumbies led 7-21.

Lonergan collected 15 points with a 100 per cent from the tee, kicking five conversions from all over the field despite the southerly beach breeze.

Efitusi Maafu pulled a try back for the Sunwolves to make it 7-14 in the 36th-minute, but Valetini’s score, seven seconds after the halftime hooter sounded, was a killer blow.

Pulu, Kuridrani, and Kata killed the game with three scores in 10 minutes.

Michael Stolberg added a second score for the Sunwolves with seven minutes remaining, but Powell’s try after the siren finished the game as the Brumbies fell three short of a half-century.

The men from Canberra increase their lead at the top of the Australian Conference, while the Sunwolves stay bottom.

Brumbies dominate the first-half

Wollongong is a coastal city in Australia, south of Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive.

WIN Stadium, situated on the beach, was the setting for this re-arranged Round 6 fixture.

Dan McKeller’s men started well, going 18 phases with their first grand drive of the game before Scott Sio knocked on inside the opposition’s 22.

It did not take long to score, though, as Ryan Lonergan, in his first start at halfback, scored under the posts to notch his maiden Super rugby five-pointer.

The scrumhalf, sublime from the tee all day, converted his 10th-minute try.

Pulu’s break, after the Sunwolves, won their lineout but failed to find touch from the clearance, set-up the score after combining with Valetini, who sent Lonergan away to score.

Miller crashed over under the sticks.

The Brumbies went to the midfield from the lineout, Murray Douglas carried before throwing a neat inside pass to Miller, who dives over under the posts before the end of the first quarter.

The Brumbies enjoyed 88 per cent possession and 79% territory inside the opening half-hour, starving the Sunwolves of the ball as they camped inside their half.

Super Rugby Conference and overall table standings

Yet, somehow, the Australians could not extend their advantage; instead, the Japanese fought back.

Maafu flopped over the whitewash, following a powerful rolling maul, to put his team on the scoreboard close to halftime; however, the joy was short-lived as the Brumbies hit back.

Valetini scored seven seconds after the hooter sounded, diving over the corner after a sublime backline attack following Ben Te’o’s midfield turnover.

The ball went wide to Tom Banks, who played Kuridrani. The outside centre threw a skip-pass to Valetini, who fended off a defender before racing down the sideline to score.

It was a hammer blow for Naoya Okubo’s men.

They had pulled back the score as they fought their way back into the contest with a few long, sustained periods of possession.

Three try third-quarter blitz breaks Sunwolves’ resolve

The game was as good as over soon after the restart as the Brumbies ran away with the game.

Pulu scored six minutes into the second stanza after a TMO review.

The 31-year-old wing managed to get the ball down before sliding out into touch. It was an expert finish by the corner flag, under pressure by JJ Engelbrecht.

Pulu, somehow, grounded the ball under pressure by Te’o and Engelbrecht. Lonergan split the uprights with the touchline conversion.

It was all Brumbies in the next 10 minutes. Kuridrani scored next, crashing over next to the posts.

Kuridrani took Ryan Lonergan’s flat pass, after a sustained forward attack, and barged through two defenders to extend the lead.

Kata followed suit, soon afterwards.

The winger, after another TMO review, dotted down in the corner. There was only a blade of grass in it before Kata scored.

Tom Banks set-up the attack with a jinking run before Valetini’s no-look pass – and second assist – put Kata away.

The Sunwolves managed to stem the flow of tries and even scored a try of their own when Stolberg crashed over from close range in the 73rd minute.

But it was scant consolation as the Sunwolves suffer another heavy defeat in their final Super Rugby season.

Powell came on and finished proceedings with a try after the hooter.

The Brumbies march on with their fourth win of the season.

Final Score: Sunwolves 14 (7) Brumbies 47 (21)

Scorers

Sunwolves
Tries – Maafu, Stolberg
Pen –
Con – April, Ogura
Drop –
Cards –

Brumbies
Tries – R. Lonergan, Miller, Valetini, Pulu, Kuridrani, Kata, Powell
Pen –
Con – R. Lonergan (5), Pasitoa
Drop –
Cards –

 

Match Officials
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Amy Perrett
Assistant Ref 2: Aaron Pook
TMO: Ian Smith

Teams

Sunwolves

Head Coach: Naoya Okubo

15 Yoshizumi Takeda, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Siosaia Fifita (co-captain), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (co-captain), 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Efitusi Maafu, 1 Nic Mayhew.

Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Jarred Adams, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Keisuke Moriya.

Brumbies

Head Coach: Dan McKellar

15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 Scott Sio.

Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Tom Wright.

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