A heavy dose of lineout power has carried the Brumbies to a fourth straight Super Rugby Pacific win, seeing off Moana Pasifika in an entertaining, back-and-forth affair in Canberra.
They were down 14-3 inside 10 minutes and couldn’t shake off Moana until deep in the second half, winning 62-36 thanks to four tries off the back of their set piece.
Flanker Luke Reimer jagged two of them as they lent on their precision, before they opened up late when reserve halfback Ryan Lonergan changed the game off the bench.
Moana simply wouldn’t give up in the 98-point, five-lead change thriller, grabbing a lead on 53 minutes when Samiuela Moli drove over the line from their own rolling maul.
But the Brumbies put the hammer down, substitute five-eighth Jack Debreczeni skipping over to retake the lead before winger Andy Muirhead’s second try had them ahead 48-36.
And rugby sevens converts Corey Toole and Ben O’Donnell each found a late try as the score blew out, their expansive play catching Pasifika napping as they ran out of legs.
It leaves the Brumbies 4-0 heading to their first New Zealand trip of the season, set to tackle the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.
Lonergan made another argument for Wallabies selection, steering his side to victory in his second-half stint with some key passes creating scoring opportunities.
But they will need to give their game a serious tune-up if they’re to test the NZ sides, looking porous defensively in conceding five tries and giving the Pasifika team a huge sniff of their first win on Australian soil.
They’d spotted Moana the early buffer courtesy of a loose Noah Lolesio pass that flanker Miracle Faiilagi returned 70m for a try, before Alamanda Motuga powered from a set piece to leave the rattled Brumbies 11 points in the hole.
But Tom Wright put Tamati Tua through on 15 minutes before the Brumbies added consecutive tries off the back of their lineout, although the Pasifika outfit wouldn’t go away and conjured a magical sweeping move that ended with Fine Inisi levelling the scores at 22-22.
Former Brumby Christian Leali’ifano impressed on his first trip to Canberra as an away player, steering Moana around the park well and slotting 11 points from the kicking tee.
Brumbies and Wallabies centre Len Ikitau missed the contest with a calf niggle, not expected to be risked in his side’s trip to Christchurch.