Brilliant Brumbies slaughter Sharks
16 Mar 2013
The Brumbies delivered a master class to embarrass the Sharks 29-10 in Durban.
The Brumbies scored four tries within 30 minutes with a stunningly aggressive and intelligent display.
Rarely has an Australian team so physically pummeled a South African side, but the Brumbies crushed the Sharks in the collisions. Brumbies No 8 Fotu Auelua terrorized the Sharks defence in the opening quarter and the sustained aggression and amazing ball control left the hosts and their supporters shell shocked.
I had the Sharks to beat the Brumbies but I also expected the Sharks to actually turn up at the scheduled kick-off and not 52 minutes into the game.
The Brumbies stunned the Sharks with the manner in which they used the ball, but no one outside of the Brumbies would have expected the physical battering delivered in every contact situation, be it a collision or in the scrums.
The Brumbies were too good by a long way and this ranks as a humiliation.
The Brumbies, with loose-forwards Auelua, captain Ben Mowan and veteran George Smith outstanding, also won for a tournament record seventh successive time away from home.
Springbok 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White cannot be applauded enough for what he has done with a Brumbies franchise that was a joke in 2011. Last year he took no name brands and youngsters and turned them into one of the more exciting teams in the competition. This season he has added a bit of experience and mongrel to the set piece, attack and defence and turned them into championship contenders.
The ball control in difficult conditions was near perfect in the first 30 minutes but it was the absolute physical domination of the Brumbies that few among among the home crowd would ever have thought a possibility.
The Brumbies were brutal; the Sharks were passive in defence and in the opening 30 minutes the Sharks missed as many tackles as the Brumbies were forced to make.
The Sharks made 73 tackles to 25 in the first 30 minutes as the Brumbies set the platform for a first win in Durban in six years. It was a record-breaking result and the best team display in the tournament so far.
The attack was awe-inspiring in the first half but nothing in defence was compromised and after four matches the Brumbies have conceded just 35 points.
The Sharks showed more intent in the second half and replacement hooker Kyle Cooper and lock Pieter-Stef du Toit showed enthusiasm and commitment that was absent in the first 40 minutes. Loose-forwards Ryan Kankowski and Marcel Coetzee also were more of a menace in the second half but it proved meaningless after the impotency of the first half.
The Brumbies, from Jesse Mogg at fullback to the front row, were brilliant. You find the appropriate adjective to describe the Sharks and make sure you use an equally appropriate expletive.
By Mark Keohane