Brumbies beat Force to ruin Sharpe exit
Chris Pike
01:01 AEST Sun Jul 1 2012

A dominant four-try first half set up the Brumbies' 28-17 win over the Western Force at nib Stadium on Saturday night to ruin Nathan Sharpe's farewell in Perth.

Sharpe is the inaugural captain of the Force and it was his last game in Perth ahead of him retiring at the end of the Super Rugby season, but the Brumbies had no room for sentiment with the 11-point victory taking them back ahead of the Reds to the top the Australian conference.

The first 16 minutes could not have possibly gone worse for the Force or better for the Brumbies with tries to Jesse Mogg and Ben Alexander, and then flanker Matt Hodgson went off injured for the home side.

From there it was a procession for the Brumbies with two more first-half tries to Zack Holmes and Henry Speight to have the bonus point sewn up but the Force wouldn't go away in the second half.

A pair of tries to Nick Cummins and one to lock Toby Lynn had the Force just eight points down but the Brumbies held on for the crucial win.

It was only three minutes into the game when the Brumbies flexed their muscles with Mogg collecting a pass from Holmes, easily getting through Cummins and David Pocock, around Ben Seymour and crossing for the try.

Prop Alexander then cruised through Richard Brown and Will Tupou to make it 12-0 after 11 minutes when Holmes converted for his only successful kick of the first half.

The score was locked on 12-0 for 18 more minutes, but the Brumbies finished the first half with tries to winger Speight and flyhalf Holmes, who gave a beautiful dummy and then stepped through a lacklustre defence to make it 22-0 at halftime.

However, the Force didn't lie down and winger Cummins held his ground out wide on two occasions in the first 10 minutes of the first half to cross for tries.

Then Lynn grounded the ball from a rolling maul in the 67th minute and David Harvey converted, the Brumbies led just 25-17 and then opened the lead to the final 11 points with a penalty from Holmes in the 73rd minute.

The Brumbies now finish their season against the Waratahs and Blues with the Force ending on the road to the Blues and Crusaders.

Brumbies coach Jake White was obviously delighted with his team's dominant first half, but saw plenty to improve on in the second.

"We had to start well and we knew that with all the emotion of it being Sharpey's last game, and we couldn't ask for any more.

"It wasn't just that we scored four tries, it was the way we played in that first half," White said.

"After a break, to play like that and make a statement in the first half was obviously very pleasing, but we slacked off and again showed a bit of inexperience with the fact that we probably thought we had done enough."

It was an emotional week for Nathan Sharpe with it being his last night in Perth.

"I'm glad it's over. It was a big week and plenty made out of it, but I don't really enjoy that side of things too much. One thing that was great was the amount of support that I received from everywhere around the world," Sharpe said.

"I'm very grateful for that because it was very nice to have coming in and in the context of the game it was disappointing because you want to win those ones. Unfortunately it didn't go that way for us and it makes it a bit of a bittersweet night maybe."

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