The Brumbies bagged a crucial 28-17 bonus-point win over the Force in Perth to take them back to the top of the Aussie conference.
The Brumbies bagged a crucial 28-17 bonus-point win over the Western Force in Perth on Saturday to take them back to the top of the Australian conference.
The Reds' win earlier in the round saw the defending champions overtake the Brumbies in their group, but Jake White's troops secured maximum points at nib Stadium to put them back on track.
The visitors had the match wrapped up by half-time after racing to a 22-0 lead, leaving the Force with a mountain to climb after the break.
But the hosts came out firing in the second half, and turned the previously one-sided encounter into a contest thanks to two quickfire tries to wing Nick Cummins.
A third Force touchdown got them to within eight points, but the Brumbies pulled away thanks to two penalties by fly-half Zack Holmes to put the result beyond doubt.
The Brumbies started the match with a roar and a hiss, and showed their intentions early on when Jesse Mogg crossed for his side's first try in the third minute.
Holmes couldn't add the extras from far out, but had better luck with his second attempt after Ben Alexander crashed over for the visitors' second try in the 11th minute.
The Force managed to hold out the Brumbies for nearly 20 minutes, before wing Henry Speight added his name to the scoresheet and then Holmes got in on the action with a try of his own – both conversions missed by the fly-half.
At 22-0 down, the scoreless Force's hopes of sending captain Nathan Sharpe out on a winning note in his last home game were looking pretty dire.
However, the Force finally clicked into a highers gear and when Cummins held his ground to score out wide on two occasions, it looked like a comeback was on the cards.
The comeback was confrmed when Lynn dotted down from a rolling maul in the 67th minute and when David Harvey converted, the Force trailed the Brumbies 25-17. Game on!
But sadly for Sharpe and his troops, it was the closest they'd get to the men from the Australian capital after Holmes sealed the deal with his final three-pointer.
Tries: Cummins 2, Lynn
Tries: Mogg, Alexander, Speight, Holmes
Pens: Holmes 2
Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Salesi Manu, 19 Phoenix Battye, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 David Harvey.
Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Jesse Mogg, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegaty, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Leon Power, 19 Ita Vaea, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Tevita Kuridrani, 22 Cam Crawford.
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)