The Brumbies will return home from their South African tour with competition points, after their 25-18 win over the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning (AEDT).
A try to prop Ben Alexander on the hour-mark put the Brumbies out to a 17-point lead, before Cheetahs speedster Sergeal Petersen scored a late try as bodies tired.
A penalty to five-eighth Niel Marais after the final siren secured a losing bonus point to the home side.
Sam Carter and David Pocock were the Brumbies’ best, as the Canberra-based side battled hard all game to maintain their edge in the breakdown.
The Cheetahs asked plenty of questions of the Brumbies’ defence throughout the game, but were consistently let down by handling errors, while the Brumbies also enjoyed success disrupting the Cheetahs’ driving maul.
The Brumbies showed their intent from the kick-off, where they threw the ball wide across the field from deep in their own half.
Winger Joe Tomane kicked ahead, and Argentinean halfback Tomas Cubelli swooped on the loose ball to score in the corner after just 28 seconds of play.
Referee Glen Jackson initially awarded the try, but the TMO overruled on a forward pass from Scott Fardy to Tomane.
Moments later, no.8 Ita Vaea crashed over in the left corner in the fourth minute after a Pocock intercept, with flyhalf Christian Lealiifano adding the extras from just inside the touchline.
A Marais penalty in the 21st minute gave the home team their first points, and they added to that three minutes later when flanker Uzair Cassiem scored a try in the corner.
The Cheetahs were able to build momentum on the back of Brumbies infringements, but early handling errors meant they weren’t able to convert those opportunities into points.
They hosts then lost prop Ox Nche to the sin bin in the 34th minute for being caught on the wrong side of the ruck, from which the Brumbies quickly took advantage to send fullback Aiden Toua over in the left corner.
The Cheetahs had opportunity to strike just before the break, after Brumbies lock Sam Carter was shown a yellow card for repeated ruck infringements, only for handling to again let the home side down and send the teams to the sheds with the Brumbies leading 15-8.
The Brumbies host the Chiefs in Canberra next Saturday, and are now four points clear atop the Australian conference, after the Melbourne Rebels were beaten 27-3 by the Highlanders.
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