Brumbies vs Sunwolves: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Brumbies will head into the June break on a winning note, having beaten the Sunwolves at GIO Stadium on Sunday.

What are we talking about after the 41-31 win?

1. Canberra crowd falls flat

There were 9521 fans at GIO Stadium to watch this clash, falling short of the 15,000 target set by the club. While an improved showing from the paltry crowd that watched their last home game, against Melbourne, the plea to fans to turn up or risk the club collapsing looks to have fallen on deaf ears, for now.

2. Speight sizzles

It was easy pickings for Henry Speight on Sunday. Photo: Getty ImagesHenry Speight was left out of Michael Cheika's 33-man squad for the June Tests and he played his best game of the season in response. An eye popping 16 runs for 143 metres, eight tackle busts, six line breaks and two offloads will keep the flying Fijian firmly in the frame should there be any injuries to the current crop of outside backs in the Australian squad.

3. Test trio turn it on

The way David Pocock, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa shined on Sunday, it's easy to see why Brumbies coach Dan McKellar refused the request to rest the trio. Pocock was sensational at the breakdown, while the Brumbies scrum dominated the Sunwolves pack from the outset.

4. Banks' best Test standard

There were two plays on Sunday evening which showed Tom Banks is ready to make his Test debut, should Cheika name him in the first Wallabies 23 of the year on Thursday. The first came in the 26th minute, with Banks allowed to work up a full head of steam and steamroll two Sunwolves defenders inside 10 metres to crash over the line. The second came in the 62nd minute, where he stopped a certain try with a kamikaze tackle in the left corner. Both plays were examples of his speed, power and athleticism, a package readymade for Test rugby.

5. Win total on the up

The five Australian Super Rugby franchises managed just 21 wins between them last season. This Brumbies' win marked the 23rd for Australian sides this season, with three rounds still to play post June. Between a drought breaking Eden Park win for the Rebels, a 93 point shootout at Suncorp Stadium and an encouraging win for the Brumbies, the standard of rugby being played is on the up.