Brumbies into last eight
REPORT: The Brumbies booked their spot in this season's Super Rugby quarterfinals with a 24-10 win over the Western Force in Canberra on Saturday.
The Brumbies leapfrogged the Waratahs on the Australian Conference standings and they will play the Highlanders in Canberra in the first round of knockouts.
The Western Force surprisingly dominated play in the opening minutes, but they could not make their possession count against a solid Brumbies defence.
In fact, it was the Brumbies who opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Christian Lealiifano converted an easy penalty after his team put the Force under pressure in their own 22 from a scrum.
The home side increased their lead five minutes later when Matt Toomua scored the game's first try after some quick hands in the Force 22. Lealiifano converted for a 10-point lead.
Force scrumhalf Ian Prior reduced the deficit before the half-hour mark when he converted a penalty from in front, before Ben Tapuai scored a try which silenced the Canberra crowd.
After going wide, Aidan Toua opted for a kick in behind the Force, however, it deflected against a Force player. Tapuai picked up the loose ball and sprinted 60 metres for the try.
However, the Brumbies' scrum dominance soon took its toll on the Western Force, when the home side were awarded a penalty try in the 36th minute. The Force thought that they got a try back when Kyle Godwin went over for a score from a Dane Haylett-Petty kick, however, after a TMO review Godwin was clearly in front of the kicker.
Instead it was the home side who finished the first half on a high when centre Tevita Kuridrani bashed his way past a few defenders to score his side's third try. Lealiifano converted again and at half-time it was 24-10 in favour of the Brumbies.
There was less action in the second half, with both teams cancelling each other out on attack and defence.
In the end the last 40 minutes was a dour affair.
Man of the match: There were not many standouts in this dour game, however, one player did not do his reputation any harm and that was scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli. He once again provided quick service from the base of the ruck and he made the Western Force sweat on defence on a number of occasions.
Tries: Toomua, Penalty Try, Kuridrani
Cons: Lealiifano 3
For Western Force:
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Blake Enever 21 Joe Powell, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Lausii Taliauli.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan (captain), 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Rory Walton, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)