SYDNEY – The Brumbies hit the New South Wales Waratahs with a four-try blitz in 18 first-half minutes on their way to a 35-24 victory on Saturday that secured them the Super Rugby Australian conference title.
The twice Super Rugby champions are now assured of a home quarter-final in two weeks' time, while the Waratahs could still take a mathematical chance of making the playoffs into their final regular-season clash against the Otago Highlanders.
Lock Rory Arnold, winger Andy Muirhead, centre Irae Simone and hooker Folau Fainga'a all crossed in quick succession from the 15th minute and flyhalf Christian Lealiifano converted all four tries to give the visitors a 28-3 halftime lead.
Scrumhalf Nick Phipps, evergreen centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and winger Curtis Rona crossed in the second half for the Waratahs but the hosts had too steep a hill to climb to get back into the contest after leaking so many points before the break.
Openside flanker Tom Cusack finally got the visitors on the scoreboard five minutes from time to seal a fifth straight win for the Brumbies as they head home to Canberra for their final regular-season fixture against the Queensland Reds.