The Brumbies face a daunting series of matches against some of New Zealand’s top Super Rugby sides after regaining ascendancy in the Australian conference.
The Canberra-based franchise overcame a week of turmoil in Canberra to score a 25-18 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning (AEDT) to pull four points clear of the stumbling Melbourne Rebels.
The Rebels, who had previously been level on points with the Brumbies, lost 27-3 at home to the Highlanders on Saturday.
They will be without winger Tom English and possibly centre Tamati Ellison and fullback Jonah Placid for their next assignment away to the NSW Waratahs.
The Tahs moved within three points of the Rebels with a gritty 15-13 away win over Queensland in Brisbane on Sunday.
Israel Folau scored two tries for the Tahs, who recorded a sixth straight win over the Reds.
The Brumbies scored three tries to two against the Cheetahs as they rebounded from last week’s loss to the Stormers and kept at bay the drama back home surrounding CEO Michael Jones and his issues with the franchise.
They now face Australasian group leaders the Chiefs, who are coming off a 53-10 home thrashing of Western Force, scoring nine tries, seven of them in the second half.
Then after a bye, there’s a potentially pivotal Australian conference clash away to the Waratahs followed by two games against New Zealand heavyweights the Crusaders and Highlanders.
“To come away from our tour (of Perth and South Africa) with two wins out of three, we’d probably take that,’ Brumbies captain Stephen Moore said.
“It’s a really important game now when we get home against the Chiefs.
“We saw how well they played (beating the Force), so it’s going to be important for us to recover well and play really well there before the bye.”
Australian sides haven’t won any of their past five Super Rugby fixtures against New Zealand sides, tallying four losses and draw since the Brumbies’ crushing round-one 52-10 home victory over the Hurricanes.
There was narrow defeats for the two newest Super Rugby teams.
Japan’s Sunwolves lost 30-27 to the Bulls in Singapore and Argentina’s Jaguares went down 13-8 at home to the Stormers, who top one of the South African conferences.
The other conference is topped by the Sharks despite losing their unbeaten record with a 19-14 home loss to the Crusaders.
In Wellington, the Hurricanes scored a 42-20 bonus-point win over the Kings.