Rugby: Brumbies spoil Sharpe's finale

Nathan Sharpe farewells the Force fans.
Photo / Getty Images
Nathan Sharpe farewells the Force fans. Photo / Getty Images

A dominant four-try first half set up the Brumbies' win over the Western Force last night to ruin Nathan Sharpe's farewell in Perth.

Sharpe is the inaugural captain of the Force and it was his last game in Perth ahead of him retiring at the end of the Super Rugby season. But the Brumbies had no room for sentiment, with the 11-point victory taking them back ahead of the Reds to the top of their conference.

The first 16 minutes could not have gone much worse for the Force or better for the Brumbies, with tries to Jesse Mogg and Ben Alexander, and then flanker Matt Hodgson going off injured for the hosts.

From there, it was a procession for the Brumbies, with two more first-half tries to Zack Holmes and Henry Speight to have the bonus point sewn up. But the Force wouldn't go away in the second half.

A pair of tries to Nick Cummins and one to lock Toby Lynn had the Force just eight points down but the Brumbies held on for the crucial win.

It was only three minutes into the game when the Brumbies flexed their muscles, with Mogg collecting a pass from Holmes, easily getting through Cummins and David Pocock, around Ben Seymour and crossing for the try.

Prop Alexander then cruised through Richard Brown and Will Tupou to make it 12-0 after 11 minutes when Holmes converted for his only successful kick of the first half.

The score was locked on 12-0 for 18 more minutes, but the Brumbies finished the first half with tries to winger Speight and first five Holmes, who gave a beautiful dummy and then stepped through poor defence to make it 22-0 at halftime.

However, the Force didn't lie down and winger Cummins held his ground out wide on two occasions in the first 10 minutes of the first half to cross for tries.

Then Lynn grounded the ball from a rolling maul in the 67th minute and David Harvey converted. The Brumbies led just 25-17 but then opened the lead to the final 11 points with a penalty from Holmes in the 73rd minute.

Brumbies 28 (B. Alexander, Z. Holmes, J. Mogg, H. Speight tries; Holmes con, 2 pens) Western Force 17 (N. Cummins 2, T. Lynn tries; D. Harvey con).

- AAP

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