Super Rugby: Brumbies go top after comfortable win in Dunedin
Last Updated: 12/04/13 10:48am
George Smith found enough strength to touch down as the Brumbies beat lowly Highlanders in Dunedin
The Brumbies ran in three tries as they beat bottom-of-the-league Highlanders 30-19 to move four points clear at the head of the Super Rugby table.
Scores from Henry Speight, George Smith and Joe Tamone combined with a near-flawless kicking display from Christian Leali'ifano paved the way for a comfortable Brumbies win.
Despite amassing a ten-point lead in the opening five minutes the Brumbies faltered for periods of the first half as Hayden Parker scored four penalties to put the visitors in touching distance.
Brumbies took the lead in the second minute when a wide pass to Speight freed the winger to touch down with Leali'ifano converting before adding a penalty to his side's tally three minutes later.
As the joint league leaders wavered in discipline Parker seized the initiative to put the Highlanders within one point approaching the interval.
Just eight minutes remained before half-time when Brumbies flanker Smith ploughed over the line off the back of a maul to extend the lead before Parker maintained his perfect record scored another penalty to leave the Highlanders within five points.
The Highlanders were untidy in the second period as a spilt ball was collected by Tamone just inside the Brumbies half before he raced clear to score his seventh Super Rugby try.
Leali'ifano continued to excel with the boot as the centre accumulated 15 points for the Brumbies to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Replacement scrum-half Aaron Smith gave the Highlanders a glimmer of hope when he skilfully worked his way through the Brumbies defence to touch down in the 76th minute.
However, the Highlanders remained 11 points adrift following Parker's conversion, leaving it too late for a comeback. Jamie Joseph's side are rooted at the foot of the table.
Victory takes Jake White's Brumbies temporarily top of the Super Rugby table, four points ahead of the Chiefs who face the Reds in Hamilton on Saturday.
Super Rugby 2013 Round 9
The Cheetahs' Super Rugby winning streak came to a halt in Pretoria as the Bulls won 26-20 in a hotly contested derby.
Juan de Jongh celebrated his 50th Super Rugby cap with a vital try as the Stormers beat the Sharks 22-15.
Western Force clinched their second Super Rugby win of the season with a shock 16-14 victory over Crusaders.