A sensational first-half hat-trick from Joe Tomane helped the Brumbies to victory over the Stormers and a place in the Super Rugby semi-finals against the Hurricanes, but fellow winger Henry Speight’s season could be over after he was red-carded for a dangerous tackle.
The Brumbies’ six-tries-to-one 39-19 win over the South African conference winners on Sunday (AEST) in Cape Town in the sudden-death qualifying final produced some magical attacking rugby from Stephen Larkham’s side.
The Brumbies coach was delighted with his side’s performance against the Stormers, who lacked punch without key forwards Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Burger, who failed a late fitness test.
“I’m very happy with that. Like I said before the game, we had a really short prep for this one, we had one day of training, there was no contact through the week for the boys, but tonight there was plenty of contact,” Larkham said.
The Brumbies will head to Wellington for the clash on Saturday with the table-topping Hurricanes full of confidence, but whether Wallabies flyer Speight plays is to be scrutinised by the SANZAR judiciary.
Speight was charged with a dangerous tackle on a player without the ball when he appeared to flip Stormers centre Juan de Jongh onto his head in the 74th minute.
The matter will be considered in the first instance by SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton who assesses the matter before considering the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at the first hearing, Speight must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by Hampton.
Brumbies captain Stephen Moore was thrilled with the performance, particularly from the forwards with flanker David Pocock a standout, and nothing would change in their approach in Wellington.
“We know we’ve got to keep playing our game, we’ve got to keep attacking,” Moore said.
“We are going to have to score points and we’ll try and do that.”
The Brumbies went down to 13 men with five minutes remaining when Scott Fardy was sin-binned for a professional foul, but the visitors still managed to score a try as fullback Jesse Mogg crashed over one minute from fulltime.
Tomane set the game up with his three tries, his first coming on four minutes after he pounced on a grubber kick from halfback Nic White.
He had a double soon after when he finished off a quick shift to the left before scoring his third on 25 minutes when he bumped off winger Dillyn Leyds to scoot 35 metres.
Stormers five-eighth Demetri Catrakilis scored 14 points, including four penalty goals to keep his side in the game, while their only try came via an intercept to fullback Cheslin Kolbe five minutes into the second half.