Super Rugby

Brumbies thump Sunwolves to move past Stormers

Ryan Lonergan
Ryan Lonergan

A rampaging Brumbies stretched their lead at the top of Super Rugby's Australian conference on Friday with a commanding 47-14 romp that piled more misery on the Sunwolves, whose final season has been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

AS IT HAPPENED | Sunwolves v Brumbies

Last year's semi-finalists now have four wins from five and the bonus-point win also saw them (18 points) move above the Stormers (17) to the top of the overall standings, with the Cape side on a bye weekend.

The Crusaders could, however, move to the top of the standings if they beat the Reds comprehensively in Christchurch later on Friday.

Meanwhile, the struggling Sunwolves have failed to repeat the impressive form they showed in upsetting the Melbourne Rebels in round one.

But after a shaky start it was at least a marginally better performance from the Sunwolves who leaked seven tries, compared to the 10 conceded in each of their two previous games.

The game was moved to the neutral venue of Wollongong, south of Sydney, from Japan because of the deadly coronavirus, which has thrown the world's sporting calendar into turmoil.

"We started well in the first half then lost our way a bit, but happy with the way the boys started the second-half," skipper Alan Alaalatoa said.

"We enjoyed the early game and proud of the boys and how we adapted throughout the week."

The Brumbies showed intent right from the kick-off with an 18-phase attack. After sustained territory they got a deserved breakthrough when Ryan Lonergan found a gap in the defensive line.

He converted his own try for a dream starting debut and it was 14-0 inside 20 minutes with flanker Will Miller crossing after a clever offload from Murray Douglas.

The Sunwolves, who will be booted out this year as unwieldy Super Rugby slims down to 14 teams, finally woke up and their greater possession was rewarded when Efitusi Maafu dotting down after a well-worked driving maul.

But they went to sleep again as the siren sounded for half-time with Rob Valetini darting down the left wing to send the Brumbies into the break with a 21-7 lead.

The Canberra-based team, who had a bye last week, came into the game buoyed by beating the Chiefs a fortnight ago to snap a 13-match losing streak in New Zealand.

And they built on their lead in the second stanza with Toni Pulu bagging their fourth try and Tevita Kuridrani getting the fifth as the Sunwolves' suspect defence was again exposed.

Solomone Kata and Joe Powell scored two more with big lock Michael Stolberg grabbing a late consolation for the Sunwolves, whose next home game against New Zealand powerhouse Canterbury Crusaders has also been shifted from Japan to Australia.

"We continue to have lapses in concentration which continue to hurt us in the long," said Sunwolves co-captain Jake Schatz. "The boys put in the effort and energy, but at the end of the day we can't afford to have those mistakes at this level."

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Scorers:

Sunwolves

Tries: Efi Maafu, Mike Stolberg

Conversions: Garth April, Jumpei Ogura

Brumbies:

Tries: Ryan Lonergan, Will Miller, Rob Valetini, Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Solomone Kata, Joe Powell

Conversions: Lonergen (5), Reesjan Pasitoa

Teams:

Sunwolves

15 Yoshizumi Takeda, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Siosaia Fifita, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (captain), 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Efitusi Maafu, 1 Nic Mayhew

Substitutes: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Jarred Adams, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Keisuke Moriya

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Noah Lolesio, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Tom Wright

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