Thanks for joining the blog if you're up early in Australia. By my calculations it's about 4am. If you're in Canberra, tell everyone at Mooseheads it's time for a drink to toast the Brumbies' impressive performance and then party on until the lights come on at 6am.
The Canberra Times/Fairfax blog will be back in action from Newlands next week so tune in and stay up to date with all your Brumbies news from South Africa.
FULL-TIME: That's all she wrote in Durban, the Brumbies convincing 29-10 winners over the Sharks at Kings Park. A superb performance from Jake White's men. They scored four tries in the first half and held out the defiant Sharks after the break to score a 19-point win. In the process they set a new Super Rugby record for the most consecutive wins away from home. Beating the Sharks was their seventh win away from Canberra. No other team in the competition's history has achieved that feat, not even legendary Brumbies teams of the past.
They are now clear at the top of the Super Rugby ladder and remain unbeaten after four games this season. More importantly they are 10 points clear in the Australian conference and on track to claim the guaranteed finals spot.
There will be injury concerns. Nic White, Jesse Mogg and Peter Kimlin were all in distress when they left the field. But winning for just the second time in Durban will ease the sore heads, bumps and bruises.
The Brumbies will play the Cape Town Stormers at Newlands next week before returning to Canberra to take on the Pretoria Bulls.
They are the only undefeated team in the competition.
ACT BRUMBIES 29 (Jesse Mogg, Joseph Tomane, Matt Toomua, Henry Speight tries; Christian Lealiifano 3 conversions) bt DURBAN SHARKS 10 (Ryan Kankowski try; Patrick Lambie penalty, conversion) at Kings Park, Durban last night. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan.
77: So it's almost game over, but I've only just noticed George Smith is wearing odd boots. One is bright yellow, the other is blue. Either way, he's had another cracker game.
75: And Clyde Rathbone's back on the field in Durban. This is where he started his career before the South African opted for a chance to play for the Brumbies and Wallabies. He was greeted with boos, but that's what he expected. Brumbies 29-10
67: PENALTY GOAL. The Brumbies needed that one just to halt the Sharks' momentum. The home side has been building nicely in the second half as the Brumbies suffer injuries and get tired. But Christian Lealiifano nails a short-range attempt and the margin's back out to 19 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Brumbies 29, Sharks 10
59: Big Scotty Sio limps from the field with cramps. He's had a great starting XV debut against an established Sharks front row. He was up against two Springboks and he dominated. He has spent the week rooming with legend George Smith and he's done a tremendous job.
57: The rain is really coming down now. The fans are moving for cover and the umbrellas are up. Meanwhile, the bloke sitting next to me is riding the Sharks harder than Kelly Slater rides waves. Fist pumping, cheering, swearing at the Brumbies. I like the passion, but my ears are hurting and I'm worried I'll cop a stray fist if he figures out I'm from Canberra.
57: Jesse Mogg is in plenty of pain, it's a shoulder problem. His left shoulder. I think it's a stinger or it's dislocated, but he's in back play and coming off. Robbie Coleman is on. Moggy has had a crackerjack start to the year, hopefully it's not serious.
52: TRY. Well talk about a mocker, the Sharks are in. Ryan Kankowski goes over after five minutes of contant attack. it had to happen, the Brumbies were out on their feet. Patrick Lambie converts. Brumbies 26, Sharks 10.
51: Sharks are finally getting some continued possession and threatening the Brumbies line. The defence is holding strong for now, but the Sharks look dangerous.
Here's something interesting, the Sharks haven't scored a try in the past two games and the Brumbies haven't conceded a point in any second half they've played this year.
46: Big Joey Tomane could have gobbled up another try as Toomua throws a long, wide ball. But he drops it and the Sharks are out of trouble and on the attack.
44: Wow, George Smith hasn't missed a beat in his two years out of Super Rugby. A superb steal right in front of the posts and the Brumbies go on the attack again. They could have easily settled for two penalty goals, but they want another try.
42: An early penalty for the Brumbies with the Sharks offside at the ruck. They're going for the kill, an attacking lineout instead of the three points up for grabs.
HALF-TIME: Some bad news, the rain is falling now and it's going to be a wet second half. But the Brumbies have already got their bonus point for four tries. Hopefully they don't go into their shell now.
Stat update: Brumbies 16 offloads in the first half, the Sharks missed 12 tackles.
HALF-TIME: BRUMBIES 26 (Matt Toomua, Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg, Joseph Tomane tries; Christian Lealiifano 3 conersions) leading SHARKS 3 (Patrick Lambie penalty)
Well that was a complete white wash for the Brumbies in the first half. The Sharks couldn't hold on to the ball and the Brumbies' fresh legs ran in four tries to nil. Jake White injected five fresh players into his line-up this week. The Brumbies' scrum is far superior. But when it comes to open play, they're running around the Sharks and using their strike weapons out wide to get over the line. Jake White will be stoked in the change rooms.
Injury ward: Nic White head knock, won't be back tonight.
39: For all the stat lovers out there..
@brumbiesrugby Stat check, is this the first time this season mogg, tomane, toomua have been tryscorers 1,2,3?? be pretty unamazing if true.— John-Paul Moloney (@jpmoloney) March 16, 2013
38: The Brumbies' scrum is demolishing the Sharks at the moment. Plumtree was obviously trying to protect his forwards by declaring the Brumbies were illegal scrummagers.
35: TRY! And there's the bonus point for the Brumbies, this is a demolition of last year's finalists. The Brumbies' scrum wins the ball against the feed, it gets spread wide and Fijian flyer Henry Speight gets in space to score. Speight only needs a little bit of room to move and he gets over in the corner. All of the Brumbies' tries have been scored out wide. Lealiifano converts. Brumbies 26-3
30: Wowzers, Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis just lined up Matt Toomua. Toomua knocked the ball on but regathered to stop play and du Plessis, a qualified doctor, saw his chance to nail the Brumbies flyhalf in the back. Ouch, that one might need a referral.
28: The Brumbies are dominating this fixture, they're barely letting the Sharks touch the ball. Check out this twitter brilliance from Green and Gold Rugby's finest, Steve Lenthall:
The only flash of brilliance for the Sharks so far has come from their cheerleaders #SHAvBRU— Steve Lenthall (@BJ_Rugby) March 16, 2013
23: TRY! This time to Matt Toomua and the Brumbies extend their lead and silence the Sharks fans. After a superb series of passes, popping it up to supporting players, Toomua spots a gap and charges over the line from five metres out. Kaplan checked it with the TMO and all good. Lealiifano converts. Brumbies 19-3.
23: Whoever said the Brumbies were boring or had a simple game plan? They are throwing this ball around like crazy, pop up off loads and fast play. They've got the Sharks going backwards every time they touch the ball.
David Pocock on the edge of his seat in Brisbane..
I get so nervous watching games! Stomach going and the shakes when it gets tense.. #nervousspectator— David Pocock (@pocockdavid) March 16, 2013
19: PENALTY GOAL. The Brumbies give away a penalty at the breakdown and Patrick Lambie lines up a shot from 36 metres, right in front. He nails it, despite the wind blowing the ball over at his first attempt. Brumbies 12 lead Sharks 3
17: Let's take stock for a moment. If you've just tuned in, here's what you've missed.
Brumbies tries to Jesse Mogg and Joseph Tomane, a conversion to Christian Lealiifano, head knock to Nic White, plenty of crazy passes and one of the most frenetic openings I've seen in a match.
Brumbies 12 - Sharks 0
16: I think the Durbanites are a bit shocked at this. After their team failed to score tries in the past two weeks, the Brumbies have two in the first 20 minutes. But don't discount them, the Sharks have looked really dangerous, they're just making too many mistakes.
12: TRY!! To the Brumbies again. Big Fotu Auelua is terrorising the Sharks out wide. This time he gets the ball from a standing start, slips through a gap, attracts defenders and offloads to Joseph Tomane who scores in the corner. Superb start for the Brumbies. 12-0.
12: The only interesting thing is Nic White is leaving the field to be checked for concussion. Ian Prior on the field. Lealiifano misses conversion. Brumbies 12-0.
11: Gee both teams making mistakes and it's like it's hot potato at the moment. Quick turnovers and quick passes through the the legs and behind the backs. No one has settled into this contest yet, even with an early try!
9: Brumbies are on the attack again, they win a penalty at the scrum. All of John PLumtree's talk about illegal scrumming must not have worked. Here's an attacking lineout just 15 metres out.
5: TRY!! And the Brumbies are in as they spin the ball to the right side of the field and there's plenty of room to move for the lanky fullback. Big Fotu Auelua got over the advantage line and set the platform. What a start for Jake White's men in their first international game of 2013.
4: The Brumbies went on the attack for two minutes and threatened to break the line, but couldn't quite squeeze through. It almost resulted in an intercept to Sharks No8 Ryan Kankowski, but he knocks it on and the Brumbies get an attacking scrum.
2: Early penalty to the Brumbies, offside at the ruck from the Sharks. Brumbies go on the attack, lets see what they've got.
We've got the Brumbies out on the field. I don't have the referee in my ear today so forgive me if I incorrectly describe a penalty. I'll be doing my best.
Great to see George Smith back in the Brumbies' No7 jersey, albeit at the disappointment of losing David Pocock to a season-ending knee injury.
The Brumbies were watching the Reds v Force battle in their hotel earlier today. If the Brumbies can win today, they can open up a substantial gap in the Australian conference.
No down to the serious business ... almost. The rain has cleared up, the teams are only a couple of minutes from running out and we're in for a cracker match. Who's everyone tipping? Jake White and the Brumbies? Or last season's runners-up? It's going jto be a tight one for sure and the biggest test of the Brumbies' season so far.
Oh boy, the ground announcer said: "get ready for a flash attack!". I'm ready.
Have we got any Kings Park rookies out there? If so, the best part is about to start. We've got the Sharks cheerleaders on the field and they're about to start their routine. If you haven't seen it before, I highly suggest you get a look. Especially the flasher girls.
The Sharks are looking pretty slick in their warm up. They've also won three from three this year, but they've failed to get over the try line in their past two matches. John Plumtree has put pressure on referee Jonathan Kaplan to crack down on the Brumbies "illegal" scrumming. We'll see how it goes. This is how last season's finalists line up against the Brumbies..
1. Beast Mtawarira, 2. Craig Burden, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 4. Anton Bresler, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 7. Keegan Daniel, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 9. Charl McLeod, 10. Patrick Lambie, 11. JP Pietersen, 12. Francois Steyn, 13. Paul Jordaan, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 15. Louis Ludik. Reserves: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Lwazi Mvovo.
Just sampled the biltong in the media room. Can confirm it was beef. Well, I don't know what it was, but it was delicious.
Both teams are on the field now. If the Brumbies win at Kings Park it will be their seventh consecutive victory away from Canberra. That's a Super Rugby record and a massive achievement for a young team supposed to still be rebuilding.
The Brumbies have won just once in Durban - 2007 when Laurie Fisher was in charge.
The Brumbies are without star flanker David Pocock this week. He ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the team's dominant win over the NSW Waratahs last week. He's had knee surgery and will be out of action for six-nine months. In his place will be Brumbies and Wallabies legend George Smith ... if you're going to lose Pocock, Smith's the perfect man to step in.
We wish Pocock all the best with his recovery and hopefully it goes smoothly. He's up watching from back home in Australia.
Good morning Australia and Brumbies fans. We're less than an hour away from kick-off in Durban for the blockbuster between the Sharks and the Brumbies - the only two unbeaten sides left in Super Rugby.
I'm sitting in the stands at Kings Park, there's biltong out the back, lekker blokes in the crowd and the game will start now now (Afrikaans for later). If I'm lucky, someone might invite me to a braai later on.
A few drops of rain starting to fall. Teams as per programmed as Jake White returns to South Africa - the nation he led to a World Cup triumph - as the Brumbies mentor.
Sharks v Brumbies at Kings Park, Durban 2.05am, Sunday March 17
Head to head: Played 18, Sharks 9, Brumbies 9
In Durban: Played 8, Sharks 7, Brumbies 1
Last meeting: Round 6, March 31, 2012 - Sharks bt Brumbies 29-26, Canberra Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Sharks $1.50 v Brumbies $2.50
Back on home soil, South African coach Jake White has the reportedly booze-free Brumbies sitting pretty atop the Australian conference. But the Sharks represent their sternest test so far this year as the Brumbies eye their first win in Durban in six years against the 2012 runners-up.
But with their defence looking nigh impenetrable and the Sharks unable to cross the stripe in two outings, the Brumbies will fancy their chances.
The scrum battle between Jannie du Plessis and Ben Alexander will be crucial. Comeback star George Smith will be bracing himself for a torrid time at the breakdown against Marcell Coetzee, while the front-row battle between Dan Palmer and Tendai Mtawarira could be key.
Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Fotu Auelua, George Smith, Ben Mowen (c), Sam Carter, Peter Kimlin, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Ruaidhri Murphy, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Robbie Coleman, Clyde Rathbone.