Super Rugby: Brumbies topple Western Force 47-25 to make playoffs
Last Updated: 11/07/14 7:02pm
Matt Toomua notched a hat-trick of tries as the Brumbies beat Western Force 47-25 to make the Super Rugby play-offs.
The hosts went into the game tied on 40 points with the men from Perth, who were seeking to make the play-offs for the first time in their history, but they never looked back after Toomua scored an early try.
Christian Lealiifano and Jayden Hayward traded two penalties apiece to make it 11-6 before Toomua, who had been recalled to the starting line-up for this winner-takes-all clash, notched his second try.
Jesse Mogg and Henry Speight then touch downed either side of the interval to earn the Brumbies a bonus point before Pek Cowan went over to hand the visitors a lifeline.
But Toomua ran in his hat-trick soon afterwards and Joe Tomane and Tom McVerry also added tries, with Chris Tuatara-Morrison and Zack Holmes scoring consolations for the visitors, as the Brumbies won easily to make the playoffs.
It was the Toomua show in the first half-hour as the Wallaby centre, playing fly-half for the Brumbies, got over twice as the hosts went 16-6 up.
His first came in the sixth minute after a nice passage from the home side put the Canberra side 5-0 to the good.
That score fell in the middle of Nic White and Hayward missing respective penalty attempts but Brumbies centre Lealiifano made no mistake on 15 minutes to make it 8-0 before Hayward found his range, firing over two three-pointers to cut the lead to just two points on 23 minutes.
Referee Steve Walsh penalised Force loosehead prop Cowan soon after which gifted the Brumbies three points before Toomua went over again. That second score was a case of sustained pressure leading to front-rows being out in the wide channels and the Wallaby spotted this and duly pounced.
At 16-6, the next points before the break would be critical and they ultimately went the way of the home side following a good Scott Sio carry which created front-foot ball for Toomua and that led to Clyde Rathbone setting up Mogg for 21-6.
More tries would follow after the resumption and it didn't take long for the Brumbies to put daylight between them and the Force, with Speight showing real strength and speed down the right wing on 43 minutes. Lealiifano's conversion made it a 22-point advantage as the Perth side looked gone.
However, there was hope 10 minutes later when a double boost for Michael Foley's side saw Brumbies flanker Jarrad Butler sent to the sin-bin straight after prop Cowan had powered over. Suddenly a 15-point margin with plenty of time remaining on the clock gave a feeling the Force had a lifeline.
It proved to be false hope, though, as Toomua notched his hat-trick after excellent work from Speight to make it 35-18 with the kick.
Tuatara-Morrison's well-taken score following a chip kick from Dane Haylett-Petty was soon matched by replacement Tomane racing over after picking up a loose ball on halfway, with the game opening up as both teams chanced their arm in the dying minutes.
They certainly did as Force fly-half Holmes enjoyed an easy run in on the right wing on 72 minutes before fittingly the Brumbies had the final say, with ex Red and replacement forward McVerry at the back of a driving maul to add the icing on the cake.