The Brumbies earned their third win in a row by shocking the Hurricanes 24-12 in Canberra on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
It ended the Brumbies’ 13-match losing streak against New Zealand opposition and kept their hopes of claiming a quarter-final spot alive. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes may have thrown away any chance they had of overhauling the Crusaders at the top of the New Zealand conference.
It was a stop-start affair, with the hosts using their pack to effectively null the dangerous Hurricanes backline. The visitors did themselves no favours as they struggled with their discipline throughout the match, giving away needless penalties in good attacking positions.
The Hurricanes started well, scoring an early try when TJ Perenara intercepted a pass from Joe Powell and dived over the line. The Brumbies preferred to keep things tight, using forward runners to good effect.
Good hands from David Pocock allowed Kyle Godwin to go over in the corner, before some patient build-up play from the Hurricanes freed Julian Savea out wide, with the big wing bashing his way over the tryline.
The Brumbies attempted to level the scores just before half-time but replays showed No 8 Isi Naisarani lost the ball as he reached to ground it, allowing the Hurricanes to go into the break 12-5 ahead.
The hosts would not be denied in the second half as Folau Fainga’a drove over the line from close range, with Christian Lealiifano’s conversion levelling the scores.
The Hurricanes went on the offensive, but Nehe Milner-Skudder was denied by a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Andy Muirhead.
The Brumbies then took the lead as Rory Arnold stretched over after a typical strong driving maul from the hosts, and the visitors received a further blow when Blade Thomson was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
The Hurricanes did well not to concede in the period that Thomson was off, but in the final 10 minutes, a well-worked move off a Brumbies 5m scrum freed up Muirhead, who dotted down in the corner to seal the win.
Brumbies – Tries: Kyle Godwin, Folau Fainga’a, Rory Arnold, Andrew Muirhead. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (2)
Hurricanes – Tries: TJ Perenara, Julian Savea. Conversion: Jordie Barrett.
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Is Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Folau Faingaa, Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Darcy Swain, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Luasii Taliauli
Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga- Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.
Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images