The Brumbies sent out a resounding Super Rugby statement as they scored seven tries in a 52-10 win over the Hurricanes in Canberra on Friday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
What a result this was, and what a start it’s been to the 2016 season. Earlier in the day, the Blues caused an upset in the opening match as they clinched a thoroughly deserved victory over the defending champs, the Highlanders.
And before the match kicked off in Canberra, most pundits would have also predicted a victory for the Canes, a side that finished as runners-up last season and smashed the Brumbies 29-9 in their semi-final. Yet, on Friday, the Canes looked nothing like the team of 2015, with their much vaunted attack failing to fire, while the Brumbies’ abrasive defence was virtually impenetrable.
Controlled and clinical, the Brumbies embraced a structured approach that threw the Canes completely off their game, and a 24-3 half-time lead was the result for the happy hosts.
Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy piled on the pain for the Canes as he scored early in the second half, and although the Kiwis did manage to hit back through Ngani Laumape, it would prove to be a temporary reprieve as Stephen Moore rumbled over from the back of a rolling maul to score the Brumbies’ fifth try.
It was simply too far back from there, and even when centre Matt Toomua was sin-binned after repeated infringements from the Brumbies, replacement Josh Mann-Rea and Sam Carter would score as the scoreline burgeoned beyond 50 points.
The Hurricanes had made the better start to the match and opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Beauden Barrett knocked over a penalty, but the hosts worked their way into the clash and then made the visitors pay for their lack of accuracy on defence.
Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani first powered his way over the tryline, and then Argentinian Super Rugby debutant Tomas Cubelli sniped over from the back of a wheeling scrum as the Brumbies roared into a 17-3 lead before the half an hour mark.
Just before the break, the Brumbies struck another hammer blow as they executed a beautiful lineout move that saw Moore put David Pocock away for a try that helped extend the lead to a commanding 21 points.
Some 40 minutes later and the Brumbies celebrated a 52-10 victory, and on the basis of their complete and clinical all-round performance, the team from Canberra most certainly look like potential title contenders this year.
Brumbies – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani, Tomas Cubelli, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Stephen Moore, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter. Conversions: Christian Leali'ifano (7). Penalty: Leali'ifano.
Hurricanes – Try: Ngani Laumape: Conversion: Beauden Barrett. Penalty: Barrett.
Brumbies – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joseph Tomane, 10 Christian Leali'ifano, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Allan Alaalatoa.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluailii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Willis Halaholo.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images