Wallabies star David Pocock was left with a busted nose as the Brumbies secured a 31-14 win over the Western Force in Friday night’s Super Rugby clash at nib Stadium.
Pocock was left dazed and with blood streaming from his nose after being crunched in a heavy tackle from Heath Tessmann early in the second half.
It took about 10 minutes to patch up the former Force forward, but the gutsy flanker returned to the field to help quell a late charge by the home side.
The result gives the Brumbies a perfect 3-0 start to the season heading into their tour of South Africa, where they’ll take on the Stormers and Cheetahs
The Force (1-2) were dealt a big blow on the injury front when flyhalf Jono Lance injured his left shoulder in the second half.
Coach Michael Foley raised eyebrows after deciding to rest five of last week’s starting lineup, and the move seemed to backfire as the Brumbies raced out to a 17-0 lead inside 22 minutes.
The whistle of referee Andrew Lees proved to be the Force’s biggest frustration.
The Brumbies lobbed over the first penalty in the third minute, but from that point there was only one thing on their mind – tries.
A number of chances went begging for the visitors, before a yellow card to Force prop Pek Cowan in the 15th minute helped open the floodgates.
Brumbies skipper Stephen Moore touched down from a rolling maul, before inside centre Matt Toomua crossed in the 22nd minute after an important break from Scott Fardy.
At 17-0 down, things looked glum for the Force.
But a momentary brain snap from Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli in the 28th minute gave the Force a glimmer of hope.
Cubelli was shown yellow for kicking the ball away after a penalty, and the Force were on the board in the 33rd minute when a delicate inside pass from Lance gave Luke Morahan the room needed to burst over for a try.
Lance was involved in some important plays in the first half, but the 10,914 crowd couldn’t help but giggle when he produced a classic ‘falcon’ in the 39th minute.
The Force’s hopes of victory looked all but gone when Joe Tomane busted through two tackles to touch down in the 55th minute, giving the Brumbies a 24-7 edge.
A perfectly-weighted grubber kick from reserve Force flyhalf Peter Grant led to Ben Tapuai’s 66th-minute try, closing the gap to 10 points.
But some costly line-out losses inside the Brumbies’ defensive 22 all but ended the Force’s hopes, with the visitors scoring through Josh Mann-Rea after the final siren to extend the final margin.