The Brumbies have booked their place in the Super Rugby AU Grand Final thanks to a gritty 21-9 victory against the Western Force at GIO Stadium.
The win sets up a rematch of last year’s decider with the Brumbies to travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Queensland Reds as they look for back-to-back titles.
The Brumbies dominated possession and territory early on but were unable to break down a dogged Force defence.
Despite the home side dominating the early exchanges, it was the Force who got on the board first with a penalty goal to Domingo Miotti.
It didn’t take long for the Brumbies to respond with Tom Wright crossing for the opening try minutes later off some beautiful hands from Rob Valetini to make it 7-3.
Then came the contest’s most controversial moment, as former Brumby Toni Pulu saw red for a high shot on Irae Simone. The Brumbies exploited the missing winger brilliantly before the half time bell, Len Ikitau sending Banks over untouched for the second try to set up a 12-3 lead at the break.
The second half continued much in the vein of the first, with the Brumbies controlling territory but unable to provide the finishing blow.
Miotti’s second penalty goal meant the Force clawed back on the scoreboard while down a man.
Wright was then denied what would have been a try of the year contender by a shave of his left boot.
The Brumbies stuck to task and added three penalty goals inside the final 20 minutes to seal a 21-9 win at home.
Rob Valetini was the man of the match after a stellar showing however, the Brumbies are now sweating on the fitness of Pete Samu, James Slipper and Folau Fainga’a who all failed to finish the game and are in doubt for the Grand Final against the Reds on Saturday 8 May.
Plus500 Brumbies 21 (T: Wright, Banks; C: Lolesio; P: Lolesio; R Lonergan 2)
Western Force 9 (P: Miotti 3)