Super Rugby: ACT into 1st place in Australia conference

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) The ACT Brumbies moved into first place in the Australia conference and prevented the Pretoria-based Bulls from doing the same in its South Africa 1 group with a 23-6 win Friday in Super Rugby.

Leading 9-3 at halftime, the ACT's Nigel Ah Wong and Tomas Cubelli scored the game's only tries in the 45th and 57th minutes to hand the Bulls their first loss since the opening round.

The 17-point win was the Brumbies' biggest victory margin over the Bulls since 2003.

The Brumbies have 25 points from 10 matches, two points ahead of the second-place Melbourne Rebels, who have a bye this weekend and have played nine games. The second-place Bulls have 28 points in the South Africa 1 conference, one behind the Stormers, who also have the weekend off.

Earlier in Christchurch, New Zealand in the only other match Friday, winger Jone Macilai scored three tries as the Crusaders beat the Queensland Reds 38-5, their eighth consecutive win.

Macilai, on the left wing, scored all three tries at the end of backline moves from set pieces to move them level with the first-place Chiefs in the New Zealand conference.

The winger had a fourth try disallowed and charged down the conversion of the Reds' only try – scored by Campbell Magnay – to cap an outstanding performance.

Macilai scored at the end of swift passing movements from scrums in the fourth and seventh minutes and again in the second minute of the second half.

Lock Scott Barrett and replacements Jordan Taufua and Codie Taylor also scored tries for the Crusaders, who took a bonus point.

The Crusaders have now scored 13 tries in the first quarter of matches this season, the best record in the tournament and more than twice as many as the next-best team.

Their strong start and solid defense were pivotal as the Reds had more than 60 percent of possession through the remainder of the match. The Crusaders were also punished with 13 penalties and a yellow card to skipper Kieran Read.

''We had a good start after a week off (for a bye),'' Read said. ''The guys were excited to get back out on the field and it certainly does help to get off to a start like that.''