CANBERRA – Tevita Kuridrani bagged a hat trick as the Brumbies tamed the Bulls to surge clear at the top of the Australian conference on Friday.
The Wallabies centre ran in three tries for the first time in his Super Rugby career for a bonus point 22-10 victory, leaving the Bulls still searching for a first win in Canberra since 2007.
The Brumbies are now six points clear of the Rebels in second place in the Australian conference, although the Melbourne team have a game in hand.
“We had limited prep with the Wallabies away (in camp), and we just tweaked where we needed to,” said Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano of their game plan, with his team now five wins from six.
“I thought the boys adapted really well, and trusted our game and our plan. We need to continue the work, and it will pay off.”
The Pretoria-based Bulls remain top of the South African ladder, although that could change on Saturday, with the Jaguares, Sharks and Lions in action.
The Bulls beat the Rebels last weekend for their first win outside South Africa in three years, but they were crucially missing injured captain and key goal-kicker Handre Pollard in Canberra.
They got the first points from a Manie Libbok penalty, but the Brumbies hit back as Kuridrani touched down in the corner, after Tom Banks held off two defenders before offloading.
The Bulls bounced back when Brumbies flank Tom Cusask was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing a rolling maul, with Hanro Liebenberg crossing for a converted try after a powerful scrum drive.
But it was the home team who went to the break 12-10 in front, with Kuridrani charging over after the ball was fed from a maul, with Lealiifano kicking the conversion.
They stretched the advantage in a deft move involving Lealiifano and Henry Speight, which saw Irae Simone dot down for his maiden Super Rugby try.
Kuridrani, hitting form in the lead-up to the World Cup this year, crossed for his third after a floating pass to put the game beyond reach.
Brumbies 22 – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani (3), Henry Speight. Conversion: Christian Lealiifano (1)
Bulls: 10 – Try: Hanro Liebenberg. Conversion: Manie Libbok (1). Penalty: Libbok (1).AFP