The Brumbies beat the Bulls 22-10 in an entertaining Super Rugby game at GIO Stadium, Canberra.
Tevita Kuridrani scored a hat-trick and midfield partner Irae Simone scored his maiden Super Rugby try to put the Brumbies top of the Australian Conference with their eighth win in their last nine home games.
The midfield duo was majestic, carving up a Bulls side shorn of their influential – and best player – skipper Handré Pollard, who returned home from the tour because of injury.
Simone assisted two of Kuridrani’s scores, one from first-receiver, as Dan McKellar’s men wore down their opponents.
The bonus-point victory continues the Brumbies‘ good run over the Bulls, taking their recent success to six wins from the previous seven matches and four in a row.
It is also the Bulls’ 10th defeat in 11 away to the Brumbies, a terrible run that stretches back 12 years.
The Bulls torrid time in Canberra continues.
The former champions have not won in the Australian capital since their 2007 title-winning season.
Christian Lealiifano had a nightmare from the tee. He left nine points on the field, flattering the defeated.
The 31-year-old standoff kicked one from five attempts, which kept the former three-time Super Rugby champions in the contest.
His side did, however, kept a second-half clean sheet.
The Blue Bulls did not score after the 20th-minute, firing blanks as errors mounted inside the red zone.
It looked good for Pote Human’s men after Hanro Liebenberg cancelled out Kuridrani’s first, but the home team fought back.
Tom Cusack was sin-binned for a totting-up offence and the Bulls used their extra man to punish their hosts.
They, however, took the game away from the visitors after the interval, shutting them out from that moment.
The home team neutralised the Bulls’ set-piece, stopping their driving maul, although, they could not stop the beasting that occurred for Liebenberg’s score.
A ferocious first-half as teams trade blows
Libbok put the Bulls on the board with a second-minute penalty, but the Brumbies struck soon afterwards.
Cusack’s midfield line-break, and some smart hands from Tom Banks, in the tackle, set-up Kuridrani for his 26th Super Rugby try.
The hit back with a try from Hanro Liebenberg after the Bulls forwards demolished their opponent’s scrum after Cusack was yellow carded.
Jaco Peyper had had enough.
The South African referee gave Lealiifano two final warnings before going to the pocket for the third consecutive illegal sacking of the Bulls’ driving maul.
The visitor’s pack did the rest, and the tourists had the lead again.
Human’s charges defended stoutly, withstanding several sustained attacks inside their 22.
They did, however, concede too many penalties before the break, allowing the Brumbies to keep the pressure on their guests.
The Brumbies, as they always do, opted for lineout drives instead of three points.
The South Africans repelled five drives from 10 metres out, four from their 5m before the home team decided to play off the set-piece.
Joe Powell collected from Fainga’s, at the back of the maul.
Powell played Simone, who put Kuridrani away for his second, two minutes before halftime.
Lealiifano’s conversion gave his side a slender two-point lead.
Brumbies strike after the break
Lealiifano put Henry Speight through a gap to set up Simone for the centre’s first Super Rugby try in his 21st match.
It came from a well-worked training ground routine where Speight comes off his right wing and joins the inside channel.
The standoff’s deft hands and vision open up the opposition’s defence, and Speight played Simone in for the Brumbies’ third score of the evening.
The conversion went wide, but the home side had all the momentum as they camped inside the tourist’s half.
Kuridrani had a hat-trick, taking Simone’s floated pass to dot down for his first-ever Super Rugby treble, on 58 minutes.
The free-flowing move was vintage Brumbies; they were putting their foot down, suffocating the visitors at the breakdown and forcing them into giving away penalties.
Lealiifano missed a late penalty after some more good work at the breakdown, but it did not matter.
His side had kept the visitors scoreless after the break while going back to the top of the log.
Final Score: Brumbies 22 (12) Bulls 10 (10)
Tries – Kuridrani (3), Simone
Con – Lealiifano
Cards – Cusack (Yellow, 16′)
Tries – Liebenberg
Pen – Libbok
Con – Libbok
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: James Leckie
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Rob Valetini, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Wright
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Divan Rossouw