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RugbyU: Brumbies' brilliant start sinks Sharks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A superb first-half team effort set up Brumbies of Australia for a 29-10 triumph over Sharks of South Africa in a surprisingly one-sided Super 15 clash Saturday.

Brilliant ball retention and powerful straight and angled running by backs and forwards earned the visitors a four-try bonus point before going into the interval 26-3 ahead at Kings Park in this Indian Ocean city.

A fourth consecutive victory since the southern hemisphere championship season kicked lifted leaders Brumbies to 23 points, six ahead of defending champions Waikato Chiefs of New Zealand.

It was a great start to a two-match South Africa tour for a Canberra outfit coached by Jake White, who lost his position as Springbok coach after winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Paris.

Brumbies skipper and flank Ben Mowen said: "It was an absolute bonus to win this game with a bonus point. We knew what to expect from the Sharks and our preparations centred on getting off to a good start."

Fit-again Sharks captain and flank Keegan Daniel had no excuses: "We had no ball in the first half and no continuity. It is hard to say now exactly what went wrong."

While Brumbies were following up victories in Australia over the Reds, Rebels and Waratahs, it was the first loss for the Sharks after victories in South Africa against Cheetahs, Stormers and Kings.

Brumbies stamped their authority from the kick-off in a showdown between the last two unbeaten sides in the competition and full-back Jesse Mogg crossed for the first try on five minutes with two unmarked team-mates outside him.

Left wing Joseph Tomane dotted down on the opposite side of the field to give the rampant Australians a 12-point lead in as many minutes and it got worse for the Sharks as fly-half Matt Toomua and right wing Henry Speight also went over.

Inside centre Christian Lealiifano converted three of the four tries and all 2012 runners-up Sharks could manage in reply was a solitary penalty from fly-half Patrick Lambie.

After scoring 52 points in his first three outings this season, it must have been a shock for Springbok fly-half Lambie to get only one shot at goal in 40 minutes.

Sharks finally broke through 11 minutes into the second half when No 8 Ryan Kankowski dived over for a try Lambie converted, but there was to be no brave comeback from the home team as teeming rain made conditions difficult.

While it was understandable that the Brumbies could not maintain the intensity of the first half, they held their own and closed the scoring 12 minutes from time when Lealiifano slotted a penalty.

Brumbies, who just missed out on the play-offs last season, travel south west to Cape Town for a clash with Western Stormers next weekend while Sharks host Melbourne Rebels.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130316/rugbyu-brumbies-brilliant-start-sinks-sharks