SYDNEY — Australia’s ACT Brumbies vaulted to a six-point lead at the top of rugby’s Super 15 with a convincing victory in South Africa, as the Canterbury Crusaders and champions Waikato Chiefs bounced back this weekend.
The Brumbies, under former World Cup-winning Springbok coach Jake White, were too strong for last year’s finalists Coastal Sharks, winning 29-10 in Durban on Saturday to make it four wins on the trot this season.
The Canberra-based outfit are chasing their third Super Rugby title and opened their two-game South African tour with an emphatic victory to boost their championship claims.
The Chiefs hit back from a narrow loss last week to round off the New Zealanders’ South Africa tour with a 35-24 victory over Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth last Friday. The Chiefs reaped a four-try bonus point and they return home with seven points after bagging two in the loss to the Western Stormers last week.
The seven-time champion Crusaders broke through for their first win of the campaign with a spectacular 41-19 home victory over South Africa’s three-time champions Northern Bulls.
Queensland Reds, the 2011 champions, lost ground with only a bonus point in a 19-12 home loss to the Western Force on Saturday.
The Wellington Hurricanes defeated the Otago Highlanders 23-19 in their New Zealand derby in Dunedin, while South Africa’s Central Cheetahs edged the New South Wales Waratahs 27-26 in Sydney. It was a surprisingly one-sided contest in Durban where a superb first-half team effort set up the Brumbies. Brilliant ball retention and powerful straight and angled running by backs and forwards earned the Australians a four-try bonus point.
Former All Black Lelia Masaga scored three tries as the Chiefs won their first encounter against the Kings A making their debut in this season’s southern hemisphere tournament.