The Brumbies secured the last Super Rugby semi-final berth when they claimed a deserved 38-13 triumph over the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday.
The home side were full value for their win as they outscored their opponents by five tries to one with Pete Samu leading the way with a deserved brace and Henry Speight, Joe Powell and Matt Lucas also crossed whitewash for them. Their other points came via five conversions and a penalty from Christian Lealiifano.
For the Sharks, Andre Esterhuizen scored a try and Curwin Bosch slotted two penalties and a conversion.
The Brumbies made a sensational start when Samu gathered an inside pass from Rory Arnold on the Sharks’ 10-metre line before racing away to score the opening try after just 54 seconds.
The Sharks responded with a 50-metre penalty from Bosch in the ninth minute but it wasn’t long before the home side replied with a well-taken try from Speight.
This, after Tom Banks made an excellent break in the build-up before offloading to Rory Arnold and he did well to get a pass out to Speight, who went over in the right-hand corner.
Lealiifano converted both tries before trading penalties with Bosch which gave the Brumbies a 17-6 lead midway through the half.
There was more joy for the home side in the 24th minute when Samu crossed for his second try off the back of a lineout drive deep inside the Sharks’ 22.
There was little interesting to report during the rest of the half which meant the Brumbies held a 24-6 lead at the interval.
The Sharks had most of the possession during the early stages of the second half and were rewarded in the 56th minute when Esterhuizen showed great determination to shrug off three defenders before barging over for his try.
Bosch converted but that would be the last time the Durban-based outfit would score points as the Brumbies dominated the rest of the match.
They struck back in the 72nd minute when Powell beat Juan Schoeman with a cheeky dummy on his way over the try-line and just before the end Lucas crossed for their fifth try which sealed a fine victory.
For Brumbies: Tries: Samu 2, Speight, Powell, Lucas Cons: Lealiifano 5 Pen: Lealiifano
For Sharks: Try: Esterhuizen Con: Bosch Pens: Bosch 2
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’A, 1 Scott Sio Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand) Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia) TMO: James Leckie (Australia)