Loosehead prop Ben Alexander scored two tries to help the Brumbies secure a 24-22 victory over the Sharks in a tense Super 14 match in Canberra on Saturday.
The Sharks, one of the teams expected to make the semi-finals before the competition began, have now lost all five of their matches this season.
“That’s hard to lose like this. We’ve had five games now and lost four like this,” Sharks captain John Smit said after the match in a televised interview.
“We did enough to win the game but gave away too many easy penalties in their 22 when we had them on the rack and let them get out of the danger zone.”
Neither side was able to stamp any authority on the first half with England international Andy Goode’s 40th minute penalty giving the visitors a 16-13 lead at the break.
Goode had given the Sharks a 6-0 lead with two penalties before Matt Giteau drew the Brumbies level with two of his own.
Alexander then scored a 32nd minute try, which Giteau converted, after a sustained build-up.
Ruan Pienaar struck back immediately when the Sharks had a series of drives through the forwards, the scrumhalf exploiting the Brumbies defence fanning away from the ruck to run 25 metres untouched.
Goode converted to tie the score then slotted a penalty to give the South African side a slim lead at the half.
After the break, Alexander repeated his try-scoring effort of the first half by driving over from close to the line following sustained Brumbies pressure to give his side the lead, though Giteau missed the conversion.
Goode and Giteau then traded two penalties each to set up a tense final 10 minutes with the Brumbies leading 24-22 and the Sharks dominating possession and territory but unable to snatch a late victory.
“I don’t think it was a very good game, we will take the win but we need to start improving and playing some good footy,” Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles said.
“We have got a fair bit of improvement in us.”
In next weekend’s Round 6 action, the Brumbies travel to Auckland to face the Blues while the Sharks will look to break their losing streak against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Pat McCabe, 13. Stirling Mortlock, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Francis Fainifo, 10. Matt Giteau, 9. Josh Valentine, 8. Stephen Hoiles (captain), 7. George Smith, 6. Rocky Elsom, 5. Mark Chisholm, 4. Ben Hand, 3. Salesi Maafu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander
Substitutes: 16. Huia Edmonds, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Justin Harrison, 19. Mitchell Chapman, 20. Patrick Phibbs, 21. Matt Toomua, 22. Tyrone Smith
15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Adrian Jacobs, 12. Riaan Swanepoel, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Andy Goode, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. John Smit (captain), 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Keegan Daniel , 21. Rory Kockott, 22. Waylon Murray