Rugby: Brumbies ease past Waratahs

Michael Hooper (right) fends Dean Mumm.
Photo / Getty Images
Michael Hooper (right) fends Dean Mumm. Photo / Getty Images

Waratahs 15
Brumbies 19

The Brumbies are well on their way to the Super Rugby finals after escaping with a win over the Waratahs at ANZ Stadium last night.

Now on 58 points heading into the final round, they would have to lose to the lowly Blues at home next weekend and Queensland (53 points) would need a bonus-point victory over the Waratahs to unseat the Canberra-based side from top spot in the Australian Conference.

Coach Jake White would be concerned at a second shaky performance from his side following the June test break, but the result, breaking a 10-year drought in Sydney, was all that mattered against a Waratahs side with nothing to lose.

The Tahs dominated in most areas and had all the running in the first half but a try to winger Henry Speight and sideline conversion from Zack Holmes in the 62nd minute gave the Brumbies a lead they never surrendered.

The Brumbies, under-rated all season, looked off the pace at the breakdown but two penalties from Holmes and a long-range effort from Jesse Mogg gave the visitors a 9-5 lead at halftime.

However, the Waratahs saw immediate benefit from a new backline combination and an attacking mindset, with Tatafu Polota-Nau crashing over in the first half and Berrick Barnes forcing his way over in the 57th minute to give the Waratahs a 15-9 lead.

But in the end, it was to no avail, with the Brumbies showing composure under pressure before Holmes threw a looping long ball for Speight to score the vital try.

The Brumbies missed out on the bonus point which would have guaranteed them a home playoff.

If teams are locked on points at the end of the regular season, it comes back to most wins and at the moment the Brumbies and Reds are locked on 10 wins each.

Queensland also remain a chance to still force a wildcard finals spot, as would the Brumbies if they lose to the Blues and the Reds take maximum points over the Waratahs.

Brumbies 19 (H. Speight try; Z. Holmes con, 2 pens, J. Mogg 2 pens), Waratahs 15 (B. Barnes, T. Polota-Nau tries; Barnes con, pen). Halftime: 9-5.

- AAP

- Herald on Sunday

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