The Brumbies strengthened their lead at the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby log with a one-sided 41-7 thrashing of the Western Force in Canberra on Saturday.
The Brumbies had their bonus point before halftime as they surged to a 29-0 lead in the first half, then added two more tries in the second as they continued to march forward under coach Jake White to lead both the Australian and overall conferences.
And while the win will add to the debate about how lopsided the Australian conference is, with the Reds and Brumbies feeding off the underwhelming form of the Rebels and Force to be the early pacesetters, the Brumbies deserve credit for a well-polished performance which shows they will be title contenders when the playoffs come around.
For the Force, the nightmare of Super Rugby was briefly stunted by their win over the Crusaders, but other than that they have hardly set the competition alight as they continue to struggle without the depth of some of the other sides in the competition.
The 29-0 halftime lead was the Brumbies’ biggest at the break since 2000 and the victory their biggest since 2010, while the Force suffered their fifth heaviest defeat in history.
The Brumbies, though, can look forward to a host of Wallaby call-ups and continue to impress, even though their penalty count is the highest in the competition.
But on a night where they dominated all phases of the game, they came within six minutes of keeping the Force scoreless for only the second time in their history, and could easily have run away with the game a lot easier.
The Brumbies opened their scoring with their first attacking move, a simple backline movement where fullback Jesse Mogg appeared to slice between the defence and score his fifth try of this year’s tournament.
It was the fourth time this season that Mogg had opened the scoring for the Brumbies, and every bit of an indication of what was to come.
Henry Speight added the first of his two tries – courtesy of an excellent short pass by Nic White and Christian Lealiifano was spot on with the conversion and a penalty shortly afterwards to up the lead to 15-0.
After being denied with a driving maul from a lineout in the 23rd minute, the Brumbies made the attack count as they sent it wide to Tevita Kuridrani, who evaded the tackle to score.
The bonus-point try came to Speight just before halftime after a great break by Lealiifano and quick hands out wide by George Smith after first drawing the defender before sending the wing away.
The second half offered a promising start for the Force, but their errors kept on hurting them as they decided to shun kicks at goal to try and get back into the game.
They made inroads, and even had Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore sent to the bin for a cynical offence on his own tryline, but still couldn’t break through.
In fact, down to 14 men, it was the home side who looked more dangerous, and it paid off as Matt Toomua hit the line at pace and slipped a great pass in the tackle to a flying Joe Tomane to make it 36-0.
The sixth try came from a Force mistake as they tried to run it out of their own 22, coughed up the ball and watched as Pat McCabe broke the defensive line thanks to a superb dummy before offloading to reserve hooker Siliva Siliva for the try.
Matt Hodgson saved the Force’s blushes with a lineout maul try late in the game, but there was little else good to be said for the visitors on a night when the Brumbies ran them ragged.
Brumbies - Tries: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight (2), Tevita Kuridrani, Joseph Tomane, Siliva Siliva. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (4). Penalty: Lealiifano.
Force - Try: Matt Hodgson. Conversion: Jayden Hayward.