Brumbies set for big Sharks test
RUGBY UNION: Their pack exposed by the All Black-laden Crusaders scrum, the Brumbies will face another searching examination when they host Super Rugby leaders the Sharks on Saturday night.
The Brumbies (30 points) still lead the Australian conference despite their disappointing 40-20 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch, but only by a single point from the Waratahs who closed the gap with a come-from-behind 39-30 win against the Hurricanes in Sydney.
The Crusaders' dominance at the set pieces led to a host of infringements from the Brumbies, and Colin Slade made the visitors pay by landing seven penalties.
Todd Blackadder's men are still in sixth place (26), but have a game in hand, and a win against the Reds in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon will keep the pressure on the third-placed Chiefs (30) at the top of the New Zealand conference.
The Waratahs, who have the bye this week, trailed 24-7 early in the match against the Hurricanes, but thanks to a clinical performance from five-eighth Bernard Foley (pictured) clawed their way back into the match and deserved their bonus-point win despite some concerns in the line-out.
BLUES 44 (J Willison, L Visinia, B Hall, T Donnelly, I West tries; S Hickey 3 pen, 4 con; I West con) REDS 14 (B Daley, J Horwill tries; Q Cooper 2 con) in Auckland on Friday night
SHARKS 22 (JP Pietersen try; F Steyn 5 pen, con) REBELS 16 (P Leafa try; J Woodward 3 pen, con) in Melbourne on Friday night
CRUSADERS 40 (J McNicholl, N Nadolo, L Whitelock tries; C Slade 7 pen, con; W Heinz con) BRUMBIES 20 (S Moore, P McCabe tries; N White 2 pen; C Lealiifano 2 con) in Christchurch on Saturday night
CHIEFS 38 (G Anscombe, T Latimer, C Ngatai, P Manu, BAki, T Nanai-Williams tries; G Anscombe 3 con; A Horrell con) LIONS 8 (C Skosan try; E Jantjies pen) in Hamilton on Saturday night
WARATAHS 39 (R Horne, D Dennis, B Foley, M Carraro, S Hoiles tries; B Foley 2 pen, 4 con) Hurricanes 30 (J Toomaga-Allen, B Barrett, J Savea tries; B Barrett 3 pen, 3 con) in Sydney on Saturday night
BULLS 26 (P Willemse, C Visagie; H Pollard 2 pen, 2 con; J Visser pen; J Potgieter pen) Cheetahs 21 (J Sadie, R Rhule tries; E Watts 2 pen, con; J Goosen pen) in Pretoria on Saturday night
STORMERS 29 (F Malherbe 2, D de Allende, O Kebble tries; P Grant pen; K Coleman 3 con) Highlanders 28 (A Smith, T Renata, B Smith, M Fekitoa tries; L Sopoaga 2 con; T Renata 2 con) in Cape Town on Saturday night
Fri: Chiefs v Blues, Rebels v Hurricanes. Sat: Highlanders v Lions, Brumbies v Sharks, Cheetahs v Force, Bulls v Stormers. Sun: Reds v Crusaders.