The Brumbies have returned to the top of the Super Rugby AU ladder with a 24-0 bonus-point win over the Western Force in Sydney.
The ACT side never looked back after opening with two long-range tries in the opening five minutes as they completed a clean sweep of victories over their four Australian rivals in 2020.
Unbeaten in the new domestic competition, the Brumbies leapfrogged Queensland on the ladder after the Reds had a round-four bye.
As they were in gallant defeats to the Reds and NSW Waratahs, the Force were plucky in the Leichhardt Oval wet on Saturday night.
But the Brumbies were simply too slick in the backs and too powerful in the forwards, with dynamic No.8 Pete Samu, halfback Joe Powell and inside centre Irae Simone, with a series of superb 50-22 kicks, the stand-outs.
Chuffed coach Dan McKellar said the most pleasing aspect of the win was being the first team to keep the Force scoreless in Super Rugby since 2007.
“There were some periods there where we were under the pump but we adjusted. Very pleased,” he said.
The ACT outfit made a lightning start, with winger Tom Wright finishing off a dazzling 75-metre try after just 80 seconds.
The Brumbies’ second five-pointer, an 88-metre effort completed by Simone, was even better.
“A couple of really good tries. It was just pleasing to see the boys using their skills, which we encourage them to do, and they did it well,” McKellar said.
With the Brumbies up 12-0 after six minutes, it looked like being a one-sided contest.
But the spirited Force kept the Brumbies at bay until flanker Will Miller crossed out wide three minutes after halftime to all but seal victory.
It would not be a Brumbies game without a driving-maul try from the ACT side so, fittingly, replacement hooker Connal McInerney bagged one in the 66th minute.
Australia’s Super Rugby conference winners the past two years, the Brumbies have not lost a derby since March last year and now face the Reds back in Canberra next Saturday night.
The Force remain winless from three outings, but coach Tim Sampson is confident good times lie ahead for his team.
“They were resilient. That’s something you’ll always get out of this group – they won’t give up,” Sampson said.
“It’s just about adding some polish to some parts of our game and I know a win’s just around the corner.”