The Brumbies have consolidated their position at the top of the Australian conference with a scrappy 20-3 Super Rugby win over the Cheetahs at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
The victory extended the Brumbies’ win streak at home to eleven games, one shy of equalling a record stretching back to the 1996-1998 seasons.
The Brumbies appeared to show no ill-effects following the bye and a disrupted preparation due to the Wallabies camp in the lead-up, taking just three minutes to open the scoring.
Henry Speight, moving from the wing to outside centre due to a Tevita Kuridrani’s shoulder injury, made a strong run and Christian Lealiifano soon after broke through for a try that he converted.
The home side dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes but were unable to add to their score while the visitors from Bloemfontein opened their account with a penalty goal to Joe Pietersen.
Despite all their territorial and possession dominance in the first half, the Brumbies only added another penalty goal for a 13-3 lead at halftime.
New starting lock Blake Enever snared his first try for the Brumbies early in the second half from a rolling maul, a tactic they kept using throughout the game with mixed results.
The rest of the half was a fairly scrappy affair with dropped ball hampering any chance of the game coming to life.
The Brumbies blew a number of chances because of a lack of patience and execution – Matt Toomua was pulled up for a double movement and Speight dropped the ball over the tryline – and would be disappointed to not bank a four-try bonus point.
The scrum battle was very intense with neither side able to get on top.
Despite a lack of ball and field position, the Cheetahs tried to get back into the game in the final 20 minutes but were let down by poor handling and strong Brumbies defence.
The Brumbies head to Auckland next week to take on the win-less Blues on Friday night while the Cheetahs face the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.