Five-star Brumbies put Waratahs to the sword

The ACT Brumbies convincingly beat the Waratahs 36-10 in the Australian derby on Sunday in the Super 14, claiming their first try bonus point of the season in the process.

A brace of tries for both Mark Gerrard and Stephen Larkham as well as a close range effort for the marauding Jone Tawake was more than enough for the Brumbies to out-class and out-muscle a disappointing Waratahs side.

What contrasting effects this result has on these two Australian heavyweights. The bonus point win takes the Brumbies into fourth place giving them more than a fighting chance to make the play-offs come the end of the regular season. While for the Waratahs they remain one from bottom of the league with just a single win to their name.

Although it took just over an hour to wrap up the bonus point and victory, the Brumbies never looked like losing this encounter. In fact the writing was on the wall from the third minute when Mark Gerrard glided over for the opening score.

From the first real attacking line-out five meters out from the Waratahs 22m the Brumbies moved the ball wide with good effect. Once over the gain line George Gregan used big Mark Chisholm to gain some hard yards before moving it wide. Larkham got the fend going to ghost through before firing a delightful pass out to Gerrard who went in unopposed.

An eight minute Peter Hewat penalty reduced the gap to just two points but the rest of the half was one way traffic from the Brumbies, as they gradually found their straps and began to dominate in some style. The pressure soon told allowing Julian Huxley to send over a penalty resulting from an offside in the Waratahs back-line.

With Larkham and Huxley causing all sorts of problems with their elusive running it wasn’t long before the two combined to tear the Waratahs to pieces. Huxley deep in his own half gathered a lose kick and set off with some purpose. Having done the damage he fed inside to Larkham who took the attack into the Waratahs 22m before a tackle was made. Eight tight phases later Gregan fed to Tawake who crashed over down the blind-side, Huxley adding the extras.

Half-time was beckoning, and it couldn’t come soon enough for the ragged Waratahs, but there was more punishment in store for them. Ten metres inside their own half and with seemingly few options Huxley saw space on the blind and linked with Larkham to exploit the space. Outpacing Adam Freier and David Lyons Huxley opened up options down the blind.

Gerrard was steaming up on his outside and took the pass to take Sam Norton-Knight out of the game. Hewat made a valiant effort to cut Gerrard off but Gerrard cooly stepped back inside him to cross for his second. With Huxley’s conversion it was looking ominous for the Waratahs as the hooter sounded.

The start of the second half witnessed the best the Waratahs had to offer, and they got their just reward, a converted Rocky Elsom try. After sixteen phases of play the Brumbies eventually started to creak in defence, although it took a superb one handed basketball style pass from Lyons to release Elsom on the wide right to scamper over.

At 22-10 there was a glimmer of hope for the Waratahs, and when Huxley missed two simple penalties in quick succession it seemed as if the tide may be turning. Again the Waratahs went through sixteen phases taking them to with in inches of the Brumbies line, but a knock on from Elsom at the breakdown allowed Larkham to hammer the ball down field and ultimately give the Brumbies the field position they needed.

The bonus point try was arguably the best of the night. The ball came off the top from a shortened line-out, with Larkham coming onto the ball at pace. He had George Smith on his shoulder and used the burly flanker to hammer a dent into the defence. The ball came back quickly and all of a sudden the Brumbies had numbers and were coming onto the ball at pace. Gerrard took a flat pass from

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