Rugby Union 2 years ago

Brumbies make Super finals with Force win

  • Brumbies make Super finals with Force win

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Matt Toomua of the Brumbies passes during the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Force at GIO Stadium on July 16, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The Brumbies will host defending Super Rugby champions the Highlanders in a sudden death quarter-final next week after wrapping up the Australian conference title on Saturday night.

The Canberra-based outfit secured top place on the domestic ladder with an uninspiring 24-10 win over the last-placed Western Force at GIO Stadium.

They only needed a single point to claim Australia's sole ticket to the playoffs, after rivals the NSW Waratahs jumped head of them with a bonus point from Friday's 34-28 loss to the Blues in Auckland.

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With the Highlanders beating the Chiefs 25-15 in Dunedin earlier on Saturday, the 2015 champions moved into fifth spot on the overall standings - just behind the fourth-placed Brumbies.

They will face off in Canberra at an early 6pm (AEST) kick-off on Friday night.

It's the fourth straight year the Brumbies have qualified for the finals and get the opportunity to win their first championship since 2004.

The Force, meanwhile, finish their horror season - during which coach Michael Foley was sacked, the ARU took control, and a number of players misbehaved while on tour in South Africa - with just two wins from 15 games.

The Brumbies' victory marked their seventh consecutive win over Australian opposition, a feat they've never before achieved in Super Rugby.

But the task will be a lot tougher next week against New Zealand's second-ranked Highlanders.

A repeat of their flat performances against the Blues last Friday and the Force will unlikely be enough to advance.

They started slowly and struggled to find momentum in attack on Saturday in a rather dull final-round game in front of 9,387 fans.

The were twice denied tries in the first half, with star Force fullback Dane Haylett-Petty holding up Wallabies Matt Toomua then Tevita Kuridrani in two mighty efforts over the line.

Both made up for it later, Toomua scoring in the 26th minute and Kuridrani after the half-time siren.

A penalty try in between and an earlier goal gave them a 24-10 lead at the break over the Force, who had a potentially game-changing no-try ruling by the TMO but landed one via inside centre Ben Tapuai on 31 minutes.

The scoreline didn't change in the second half, with co-captain Stephen Moore getting the biggest cheer of the final 40 minutes after passing Nathan Sharpe to become Australia's most-capped Super Rugby player on 163 games.

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