It was all too easy for the Brumbies as they ran ten tries past the Sunwolves to win 66-5 in Canberra.
The Brumbies now go into the international break level on points with the Waratahs, but in first place in the Australian Conference by virtue of having won more games this season.
For Stephen Larkham’s side this went to the script, with a hatful of tries and the scoreboard showing enough points early on to be able to haul off the likes of Stephen Moore, David Pocock and Scott Fardy with plenty of time to spare.
In truth the Sunwolves seemed set for a tough night and 21-0 down after almost as many minutes, they looked disheartened. Saturday’s mauling ended up being their second biggest defeat of the season.
Any semblance of a contest was lost by the Sunwolves at the lineout, an area where they’ve struggled all season long, and for quality operators like Sam Carter and Fardy there was a gluttony of ball to pilfer.
Fardy in fact was the game’s first try scorer, put away into yards of space off a fine miss-pass by Aidan Toua to complete a long-range attack. Lealiifano converted well from out wide.
A couple of wayward passes denied the Brumbies further chances but it wasn’t long until they were over again, Stephen Moore adding to his tries off rolling mauls collection with another effort. Once again Lealiifano drilled the ball over, stretching the lead to 14-0.
Michael Dowsett was the next man over, as he scythed his way over for try number three after a good inside ball from David Pocock outsmarted the defence.
If one player for the Sunwolves could spark something it was bound to be Akihito Yamada, the joint top scorer in the competition, but his burst into the Brumbies 22 failed to produce a score.
The Brumbies were less wasteful, a reverse move off the back of the scrum leading to Lealiifano popping the ball to the on-rushing Nigel Ah Wong for the home side’s fourth score. Lealiifano couldn’t miss, making it 28-0 by the half-hour mark.
Credit to the Sunwolves though for finding some hunger to attack, a rolling maul involving backs and forwards just before half-time going desperately close to scoring only to be held up by Fardy.
The territory was also lost after the TMO reviewed Hitoshi Ono’s headbutt with the back of the head on Rory Arnold when the two locks were tangled up in the maul, with the veteran yellow carded as a result.
Moore benefited from a fortuitous mistake by the Sunwolves to continue the run after the interval.
After the ball went loose following Lealiifano’s break, Moore scooped up the ball and had the strength to go over by the posts, his ever try double, before going off on 43 minutes ahead of the Test series with England.
The passes just wouldn’t stick for the Sunwolves, ending a 14-phase attack with a knock-on, whereas the Brumbies were far more clinical, Toua adding to the tally with a finish in the corner. For the first time on the night, Lealiifano missed.
Jordan Jackson-Hope was the next to score, the youngster receiving the final pass from Tevita Kuridrani, Lealiifano’s extra two making it 47-0.
A 70-metre interception score followed from James Dargaville before the Sunwolves at last had something to celebrate, Yamada finishing in the corner to become Super Rugby’s top try scorer with his ninth effort of the year.
Lausii Taliauli and Ah Wong rounded off the rout as the Brumbies headed into the Super Rugby break on a real high.
Tries: Fardy, Moore 2, Dowsett, Ah Wong 2, Toua, Jackson-Hope, Dargaville, Taliauli
Cons: Lealiifano 9
Yellow Card: Ono
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacments: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Lausii Taliauli
Sunwolves: 15 Yasutaka Asahara, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yuki Yatomi , 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa’ Atiga Lemalu, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Daisuke Inoue, 22 Tusi Pisi, 23 Riaan Viljoen
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Rohan Hoffmann
TMO: Ian Smith
Courtesy of SANZAAR / Super Rugby