Rugby: Chiefs stun Brumbies with six-try mauling (+photos)

The Chiefs broke a nine-match Super 14 rugby winless streak against the ACT Brumbies in stunning fashion, winning 42-28 in Canberra.

The Chiefs raced in six converted tries to four and secured the bonus point by the 33rd minute as they cantered to the halftime break 28-7 up.

A second half rally from the Brumbies narrowed the lead to 35-21 with 15 minutes left before the Chiefs sealed it with the try of the match, a length of the field effort finished by reserve halfback Jamie Nutbrown.

First five-eighth Stephen Donald bagged a double in his 20-point haul.

It was the Chiefs' third consecutive victory, all with maximum points, and put them firmly into playoff reckoning.

Not since 1999 had the Chiefs tasted success against the Brumbies.

It appeared set for a tight tussle at Canberra Stadium, with the hosts welcoming back Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock and test teammate Adam Ashley-Cooper from injury.

But the Brumbies' defence and ball retention was ordinary as the Chiefs outmuscled them at the breakdown and scored two remarkable tries to Donald and Viliame Waqaseduadua - both from simple one-on-one turnovers deep in their own territory.

They'd scored 12 tries in their previous two wins against the Bulls and Highlanders and their speedsters continued where they left off.

All Blacks winger Sitiveni Sivivatu sparked the onslaught as they led 14-0 inside the first 12 minutes.

From a ruck 15m out, he eyed a gap and chased his own grubber kick for a simple try.

Then from a lineout 40m from the Brumbies' line he carved through a gaping midfield hole and set second five-eighth Callum Bruce away under the posts.

Bruce's opposite number Tyrone Smith replied for the hosts soon afterwards, scoring from a pop pass from his brother George Smith who did his best to spark a flat Brumbies side.

The loss of captain Mils Muliaina, who limped off with a hamstring tweak after 20 minutes, did little to slow the Chiefs.

Donald then scored two tries in eight minutes, the first when he stripped a stunned Tyrone Smith of possession 65m out and raced away.

Then a break from halfback Brendon Leonard set up another Chiefs raid which saw Donald dash 30m to score.

Four Donald conversions from as many tries gave them a handy 21-point lead at the break.

The Chiefs were eyeing a half-century five minutes into the second half when Waqaseduadua ripped the ball from halfback Josh Holmes at a ruck and raced 75m to score unopposed, making it 35-7.

Bruce's sin-binning by referee Jonathan Kaplan for a professional foul just before the break didn't cost the visitors any points as the Chiefs' defence stayed solid.

Mortlock and standout flanker Smith did their best to lift the hosts and they fought back with two tries in three minutes to Holmes and winger Peter Playford to narrow the deficit to 14.

But Lelia Masaga sparked their 95m special to clinch the match, with five Chiefs handling before Nutbrown dived over nine minutes from fulltime.

Holmes bagged his second try on the hooter to secure a Brumbies bonus point.

Muliaina hailed his team's effort after a nightmare journey marred by travel delays between Hamilton and Canberra.

"We knew we were up for a big one tonight - we had a horrible travel itinerary so we're pretty stoked to take five points and next week with the bye we can rest up," he told Fox Sports.

"I've tweaked my hamstring so the bye's come at the right time, there's a couple of other guys nursing bruises."

He said his team's strength at the breakdown was crucial.

"It's something we've worked on the past couple of weeks is to get hungry on the ball and try to turn some of it over, and we scored some good points from it."

- NZPA

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