ACT BRUMBIES 25 (Robbie Coleman 2, penalty try; Nic White 2 pen goals, conv) bt CAPE TOWN STOMERS 15 (Duane Vermeulen, Juan de Jongh tries; Peter Grant conv, pen goal) At Canberra Stadium on Saturday night. Crowd:11,527.
Referee: Glen Jackson.
3 Robbie Coleman (Brumbies)
2 Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
1 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers)
It was not pretty but the ACT Brumbies will not care as they secured their fourth win on the trot to return to the top of the Australian conference. While the NSW Waratahs are showing plenty of flash and flair, the Brumbies continue to excel on the back of their gritty play. The Brumbies survived a late scare from the desperate Stormers to leapfrog the Waratahs on the table. However, the Waratahs have a game in hand and have four bonus points.
The young guns of the ACT Brumbies rose to the challenge as they defied the absence of eight regulars to extend their winning streak to four games. With the likes of David Pocock and Christian Lealiifano watching from the sidelines, the Brumbies' depth was stretched to the limit. Flanker Lachlan McCaffrey was outstanding when he came off the bench at half-time, while Ruaidhri Murphy and Siliva Siliva also made strong contributions. The Brumbies' scrum was sensational against the massive Stormers pack.
ARISE KING COLEMAN
Brumbies winger Robbie Coleman, dubbed the Prince of Queanbeyan, rose in the royalty stakes with a wonderful two-try performance. The versatile Coleman was in the right place at the right time for his first, finishing off a great break from Matt Toomua in the first half. Coleman's second was much more opportune. He chased down a grubber kick from Brumbies captain Ben Mowen and pounced when his opposite from the Stormers, Kobus Van Wyk, slipped over at the wrong time. Coleman showed good presence of mind to down the ball in the corner while keeping his feet inside the field of play.
STORMER NOT SMILING
Brumbies flanker Jordan Smiler left his imprint on Canberra Stadium with a crunching hit on his oppositie Siyamthanda Kolisi early in the second half. Kolisi was left on the ground to catch his breath after Smiler delivered one of the shots of the season. Smiler has limited Super Rugby experience but made the most of his opportunity given the injuries to the Brumbies' squad. If he can continue with that sort of aggression, we are sure to see more of him in the starting side as the year goes on.
CRUCIAL PERIOD AHEAD
The Brumbies will pinpoint the next three weeks before the bye as an important section of their schedule to hopefully set up the rest of their season. Games on the road against Australian conference rivals the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds are balanced with a Canberra Stadium encounter with the Auckland Blues. The Brumbies will not underestimate the Rebels after being beaten previously at AAMI Park. The Blues are always dangerous opponents, while the Reds will be wanting to repeat their win over the Brumbies in the first round. The Brumbies will want to build momemtum so they can hopefully finish in the top two and have home-ground advantage in the finals.