The ACT Brumbies scored seven tries in a 41-31 bonus-point Super Rugby win over Japan’s Sunwolves in Canberra yesterday.
The Brumbies defied national coach Michael Cheika’s request to rest their Wallabies forward trio David Pocock, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa ahead of this week’s Test against Ireland.
However, the trio were brought off uninjured midway through the second half to make their way on a late flight to Brisbane for Saturday’s opening Test.
The bonus-point win took the Brumbies to 25 points and trailing the NSW Waratahs by 10 points in third place in the Australian conference, while it was the Sunwolves’ 11th loss in 13 games this season.
“We came here to try and improve our game and felt we did that in patches against the Sunwolves, who are really good at just sticking in and they wouldn’t go away. It was a nice Test for our group,” Brumbies skipper Christian Lealiifano said.
Pocock scored off a pick and drive close to the Sunwolves line in the eighth minute.
The Brumbies were over again four minutes later with blindside flanker Lachlan McCaffrey backing up a break from scrumhalf Joe Powell.
Fullback Tom Banks then beat two tackles after steaming on to a Powell pass to post the Brumbies’ third try for a 19-3 lead after 28 minutes.
The Sunwolves hit back nearing halftime when Jason Emery charged down Lealiifano’s clearing kick to score and trail 19-10 at the interval.
The Sunwolves scored again just two minutes after the resumption when prop Hencus van Wyk scored his first Super Rugby try after a break from flyhalf Hayden Parker.
Parker’s conversion put the Sunwolves just two points behind the Brumbies at 19-17.
However, the Brumbies responded quickly with winger Andy Muirhead scoring in the left corner off a McCaffrey pass to edge out to a seven-point advantage. Winger Henry Speight scored his 38th Super Rugby try finishing off a passing rush to kick the Brumbies away to a 29-17 lead midway through the half.
Wallabies Pocock and Sio were brought off after 55 minutes ahead of the Ireland Test in Brisbane.
Powell again gave the last pass for replacement Tom Cusack to register the Brumbies’ sixth try as another Wallabies forward Alaalatoa was replaced with 20 minutes left.
Semisi Masirewa was prominent before openside flanker Ed Quirk crashed over for the Sunwolves’ third try to close the gap to 12 points at 34-22 inside the final 10 minutes.
Speight made it safe for the Brumbies with his second try five minutes from time, but replacement winger Kai Ishii scored a consolation try for the Sunwolves in the final minute.
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