Brumbies crush hapless ‘Tahs in record-breaking fashion

CANBERRA (AFP) – Winger Mack Hansen bagged a hat-trick as a relentless ACT Brumbies thumped the New South Wales Waratahs 61-10 yesterday – their most points ever scored against the struggling Sydney side.

The defending Super Rugby AU champions were a class above Rob Penney’s inexperienced team at a fortress GIO Stadium in Canberra, powering over for nine tries with Noah Lolesio and Ryan Lonergan sharing eight conversions.

Their trademark lineout setpiece and attacking flair did the damage as they won the physical battle and repeatedly exposed the visitors’ defensive frailties.

The ‘Tahs have now leaked 102 points in their opening two games of the season.

“Got to be pleased with that effort from the boys,” said Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa. “We’ve just got to make sure we don’t get too ahead of ourselves and continue to grow and build on the momentum.”

Aside from being virtually unbeatable at home, winning 17 of the last 18, the Brumbies have now won 10 of their last 11 against the ‘Tahs, including seven on the bounce.

The victory followed a 27-11 win over Western Force last weekend to leave them joint top of the five-team ladder alongside the Reds.

In contrast, the Waratahs have big problems as Penney looks to rebuild a side that has lost a host of key players, including Michael Hooper and Rob Simmons.

“A tough one to take. We haven’t won down here in a few years but we just can’t make that many errors and expect to come close to the Brumbies,” said captain Alex Newsome, standing in for the injured Jake Gordon.

“Every time we put ourselves in a position to attack, we dropped the ball. We’ve certainly got a lot to work on.”

Will Harrison kicked the ‘Tahs into an early lead but it didn’t last with flanker Rob Valetini bulldozing over for the opening try after a rolling maul.

A second quickly followed with Hansen ending a clinical attack in the corner.

NSW’s lack of cohesion meant it was only a matter of time before another try arrived, and it again came from a maul with Lolesio this time on the end.

Against the run of play, Harry Johnson-Holmes pulled one back for the ‘Tahs, but another try off the lineout on half-time from Connal McInerney sent them to the break 26-10 ahead.

Scrum-half Nic White shook off two tackles to swan-dive over soon after the restart as the Brumbies dominated ball and territory.

Hansen added two more tries and Lonergan grabbed another before Tom Banks dotted down for their ninth to ensure a record total.

Their biggest previous points total over the Waratahs came in 1997, when they scored 56. Saturday’s 51-point winning margin was also a record.