Brumbies stampede past Sharks in Super Rugby quarter-finals
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 22/06/19 1:51pm
A big first-half lead set the Brumbies en route to a 38-13 win over the Sharks which saw them reach the Super Rugby semi-finals for the first time since 2015.
No 8 Peter Samu scored two tries and winger Henry Speight also crossed before the break to help the Brumbies earn a trip to Buenos Aires next week to play the Jaguares, who beat the Waikato Chiefs 21-16 in their quarter-final.
Centre Andre Esterhuizen crossed for the Sharks in the second half but comeback wins in successive weeks proved beyond the travel-weary South Africans as late tries from scrum-half Joe Powell and replacement Matt Lucas sealed the home win.
Efficient, well-organised and unexceptional in all but their rolling maul, the Brumbies have now put together a seven-match winning streak since they lost to the Jaguares in Argentina in April.
They flew out of the blocks against the Durban-based Sharks and a neat inside pass sent Samu cantering towards the line for his first try with less than a minute on the clock.
Winger Speight finished off another slick move, sparked by a Tom Banks break in the 10th minute, and fly-half Lealiifano, who converted all five tries, slotted a penalty to extend the lead to 17-6 in the 21st minute.
Full-back Curwin Bosch had kept the visitors in touch with a couple of booming penalties, but Samu secured his second try after 24 minutes off the catch-and-drive to give the Brumbies a comfortable lead.
There was no further score until 17 minutes into the second half when the Sharks drove their own maul towards the Brumbies' line and the confusion allowed Esterhuizen to burst through tacklers to score.
The visitors were now dominating possession and they sniffed the chance of a last-gasp victory, to match the one they secured with a try at the death against the Stormers in Cape Town last week to earn a place in the play-offs.
It was not to be, however, and the Brumbies muscled up to keep the visitors out before Powell's solo effort sealed the win after 71 minutes, with Lucas putting a gloss on the scoreline after another break from full-back Banks in the final seconds.