The Brumbies pummeled the Sharks 38-13 in Canberra on Saturday to set up a semi-final showdown with the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
The semi-final schedule has now been confirmed. The Crusaders will host the Hurricanes in Christchurch, while the Brumbies will travel to Argentina to take on the Jaguares.
The Vodacom Bulls pushed the Hurricanes close in Wellington on Saturday. If one or two decisions had gone their way in the dying stages, they may have claimed a historic playoff win in New Zealand.
The Bulls did South African rugby proud. The Sharks, by contrast, lacked the necessary aggression and composure to challenge their playoff opponents.
The Brumbies punished the Sharks’ poor defence in the opening quarter. Pete Samu took an inside ball from Rory Arnold and raced away to score under the posts.
Moments later, Tom Banks ghosted through another gap around the ruck. The movement climaxed with Henry Speight splashing over in the right-hand corner.
The Brumbies kept their foot on the pedal. The forwards mauled their way through the Sharks defence, and Samu scored his second try of the evening.
Curwin Bosch kicked two penalties during this period. At no time did the Sharks look like threatening the Brumbies’ tryline.
The hosts went into the break with a 24-6 lead. All the momentum was with the Brumbies heading into the second stanza.
The Sharks were more competitive in the next 40 minutes. Perhaps the Brumbies had already started to think ahead to next week’s semi-final in Buenos Aires. The hosts released the pressure to give the visitors an opportunity to hit back.
Andre Esterhuizen powered his way through the defence to earn the Sharks their first try. It took nearly 57 minutes for the visitors to cross the line, though.
The Brumbies managed to regain the initiative and finish with a flourish. No 9 Joe Powell punched through the Sharks defence to score, while reserve scrumhalf Matt Lucas claimed the hosts’ fifth try in the dying moments.
Tries: Pete Samu (2), Henry Speight, Joe Powell, Matt Lucas.
Conversions: Christian Leali’ifano (5).
Try: Andre Esterhuizen.
onversion: Curwin Bosch.
enalties: Bosch (2).
15 Thomas Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone,
11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Peter Samu, 7 Thomas 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 Les Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright
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
Match Officials and details
Date : Sat 22 June
Venue : GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2:Graham Cooper
TMO : James Leckie