A surprisingly comprehensive 29-10 victory over the Sharks in Durban has confirmed the Brumbies as a top-class side and a certain contender for SuperRugby honours.
It was a win achieved in a brutally efficient fashion, with the Sharks having no response to the sheer physicality, direct approach and excellent ball retention and support play of the Brumbies.
The visitors ran in four tries in a stunning first-half display, with the Sharks managing just a Pat Lambie penalty in reply as they struggled beneath the burden of having just one-third of the possession and territory.
The Sharks lifted their intensity in the second half, but by then they were far too far behind against an uncompromising Brumbies defence and the weather was only getting worse, with heavy rain making it extremely difficult for them to score the host of tries they needed to stage an unlikely comeback.
The Sharks have not often been so outmuscled and dominated in the collisions as they were on Saturday night and coach John Plumtree admitted the players did not really know how to respond.
“Our defence clearly wasn’t up to the mark in the first half, particularly. But I don’t really want to take anything away from the Brumbies attack. The way they kept the ball and built pressure was a real lesson for us and probably a lot of teams.
“Defensively we haven’t had to sustain that type of attack before, so they just ate us up. They sapped our energy levels. It was just a tough