Barnstorming Brumbies surge into semis
The Brumbies are into their first Super Rugby semi-final in four years after dispatching the Sharks 38-13 at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
It marked the first time the Brumbies have won seven straight games in a season and they'll now travel to Argentina and face the Jaguares for a spot in the final.
The Brumbies could host their first decider since 2004 if the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders next Saturday, but first they must overcome the gruelling trip to South America.
The Australian conference winners have won nine of their past 10 games and the red-hot form continued in freezing conditions against the Sharks as they scored three superb first-half tries.
It laid the platform for victory as the Sharks came into the game in the second half but the home side's defence was resolute in front of 11,112 fans. "I'm really proud of the boys. The Sharks threw a lot at us and the way the boys kept digging deep for each other was special," said Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano.
"The forwards have been amazing all year, they were challenged again tonight and stepped up and provided a great platform for us.
"The way these boys handle whatever is thrown at them is amazing, we have a big job ahead of us but we'll prepare well." Brumbies back-rower Pete Samu scored in the first minute after receiving an inside ball from lock Rory Arnold and dashing 35 metres to cross between the posts.
Curwin Bosch then got the Sharks on the board with a 50-metre penalty, but Arnold had his second try assist on 10 minutes when he put Henry Speight into the corner for a 14-3 lead.
The teams traded penalty goals before the Sharks conceded their first rolling maul try of the season when Samu bagged a double on 24 minutes. The Brumbies held a 24-6 lead at the break but the visitors closed the gap when Andre Esterhuizen barged through Irae Simone to score in the 56th minute.
Joe Powell iced the game when he dummied from the ruck and ran 20 metres to score in the 72nd minute while his replacement, reserve halfback Matt Lucas, finished the job with a try in the final minute.
The Jaguares are also in-form having won 10 of their past 11 games; the Brumbies most recent loss came against the Argentine side in Buenos Aires eight weeks ago.
BRUMBIES 38 (Peter Samu 2, Matt Lucas, Joe Powell, Henry Speight tries Christian Lealiifano 5 cons pen) SHARKS 13 (Andre Esterhuizen try Curwin Bosch con 2 pens) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Mike Fraser.