3 Apr 2016

Chiefs crush Brumbies in Canberra

6:28 am on 3 April 2016

The Chiefs proved their status as this year's Super Rugby pacesetters last night, blowing away the Australian conference-leading Brumbies 48-23 in Canberra.

The Chiefs' James Lowe in action.

The Chiefs' James Lowe in action Photo: Photosport

The free-running Chiefs side, led by skilful fullback Damian McKenzie, made light work of the competition's best defensive team, banking a bonus point by scoring six tries to two in front of 13,300 fans at GIO Stadium.

It was their first win in Canberra since 2008 and fourth straight on the road after six rounds.

The Chiefs now lead the New Zealand conference and the overall standings on 24 points, two ahead of the second-placed Highlanders, who beat the Western Force in Dunedin on Friday night.

Look back at the match commentary here.

The Chiefs' backline was brilliant, with James Lowe scoring his first career double, fellow winger Toni Pulu, halfback Brad Weber and McKenzie all crossing for five-pointers, and first-five Aaron Cruden and midfielder Charlie Ngatai also performing superbly.

McKenzie collected 23 points to add to his competition-high tally.

The Brumbies are known for their damaging work at the breakdown and, while David Pocock was influential, it was the Chiefs who gave the masterclass, winning 14 turnovers.

Both teams spent most of March on the road but, while the Brumbies were sloppy in stages, the Chiefs hardly showed signs of fatigue in a fast and furious opening half.

The Chiefs went into the break up 20-13, but only moments earlier were trailing 13-12.

The Brumbies enjoyed a majority of early possession but struggled in their execution and had just two penalty goals to show for it.

They gave up their lead to the visitors with a pair of entertaining tries by Pulu and Lowe, but clawed their way back with a converted try by prop Scott Sio in the 35th minute.

A penalty from the restart, though, proved costly - conceding a goal and late try to flanker Tom Sanders.

Momentum continued the way of the Chiefs in the second half, with three early penalties followed by three tries to Lowe, Weber and McKenzie.

Scott Fardy scored the hosts' sole five-pointer in the second spell.

The Brumbies have a well-earned bye next week while the Chiefs hosts the Blues on Friday.

The loss was further soured for the Brumbies with star Wallabies flanker David Pocock cited for foul play.

Pocock is accused of grasping the neck of Chiefs No 8 Michael Lietch during a maul in the 74th minute of the match.

Also on Saturday, the Blues fought off the Jaguares 24-16 in the Argentinian team's first Super Rugby match in New Zealand.