The Brumbies defeated the Bulls 22-16 in Canberra on Friday in their Super Rugby clash. Leading into this fixture both franchises had won three a piece in their last six clashes with the home side being obvious favourites and playing the better attacking rugby. First blood went to the visitors as a Handre Pollard penalty was converted after the home side were penalised for side entry. A 23rd minute Pollard penalty saw the Bulls take the lead to six points having had little of the ball in the first 20 minutes with the Brumbies’ flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano having missed two earlier penalties in the early exchanges.
Oddly enough a Sam Carter twisted knee injury lead to replacement Jordan Smiler’s try in the 29th minute. The hosts battled through seven phases before the ball was recycled to Smiler for an 8-6 lead after 31 minutes. Pollard missed a drop goal two minutes later to go a point up.
The home side went through another five phases in the 36th minute but the Pretoria side’s defence was resolute on their five-metre line. It finished 8-6 to the Canberra outfit at half-time. Just as in the first half Bulls flyhalf Pollard nailed another penalty within minutes of the restart. With the first completed scrum of the match, Henry Spreight danced his way past Pollard and Burger Odendaal after collecting the ball at first receiver to dot under the posts for a converted try in the 45th minute.
In the 58 minute Spreight was at it again as he beat JJ Engelbrecht to score his second converted try after a Brumbies line out win. Jesse Mogg then mysteriously managed to cramp himself up in both legs before being carried off the field in the 61st minute. Six minutes later Lappies Labuschagne was rewarded with a converted try after the Brumbies were penalised in front of their posts and a Bulls maul subsequently drove over the line.
The pressure was mounting on the home side as they struggled to hang on to the ball. In the 72nd minute the Bulls had a chance to take the lead after winning a line out in the Brumbies’ 22 but indecision and a penalty for obstruction halted their advance for another try to take the lead. The Brumbies held on for a 22-16 win at the Canberra Stadium.