A Man of the Match performance from flanker Colby Faingaa and some never-say-die goal-line defence has highlighted a nail-biting win for the University of Canberra Brumbies over the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on Friday night, 30-23.
Camped on their own try-line for much of the second half, the Brumbies dug deep for the win having been in similar circumstances previously this year and drawn against the Kings and the Reds.
Faingaa was outstanding from first ruck to last, turning the ball over on multiple occasions and providing plenty of clean service for scrumhalf Nic White. Along with Faingaa, White controlled the game beautifully and gave Wallabies selectors plenty to think about.
It’s the second week running the White-Faingaa combination has worked like clockwork, with both players enjoying the greasy conditions.
Tries to White and Peter Kimlin, as well as six penalties and a conversion from sharp-shooter Christian Lealiifano, put the result out of reach for the visiting Hurricanes.
“To show commitment like that at the end there, it’s something you can’t coach. There’s 10 All Blacks in that squad it’s a very good Hurricanes team and we knew early on with a few drop balls and mistakes that it was going to go for the full 80,” Head Coach Jake White.
“It’s not finished yet, but we’re going to enjoy that we won a big game here against the Hurricanes on the back of a good Blues team last weekend in Auckland.
“Like I said before I think that was a good Hurricanes team, I thought we played quite well tonight at times. The way that we kept them on the back foot for the first 60 minutes shows that we played some really good rugby. But they were very difficult to contain once they got a roll on, that took commitment.
“I’m really happy with Colby, I told him he really played well and that’s two weeks in a row. Whitey was fantastic too. He proved tonight how important he is in controlling the game from the back of the scrum.
“It’s not about if he becomes a Wallaby, it’s about when he becomes a Wallaby. He’ll keep getting better and better.”
Planning on the Canberra rain all week, the Brumbies set out for field position and kicked their way into Hurricanes territory early in the match. A Hurricanes line-out provided the Brumbies with the first try of the match after hooker Dane Cole overthrew to the back where White scooped the scraps for his second five-pointer in as many weeks.
The Hurricanes answered with a try to inside-centre Reynold Lee-Lo, but with Lealiifano firing threes from the boot the Brumbies took a 14-10 lead into the break.
With more penalties following in the second half and a draught breaking try to evergreen flanker Peter Kimlin, the Brumbies blew the score out to 30-16 with 20 minutes to play.
But the Hurricanes fought back with a try to TJ Perenara, throwing the match open for a thrilling finish. The Hurricanes threw everything at the Brumbies for the final 10 minutes, earning six straight penalties and plenty of momentum but couldn’t crack the defence or the lead.
One downside for the Brumbies was a suspected dislocated shoulder for Fotu Auelua. He will have test results early next week.
The University of Canberra Brumbies face the Rebels at Canberra Stadium next Friday night.
University of Canberra Brumbies 30 (Nic White, Peter Kimlin tries; Christian Lealiifano con; 6 pens) bt Hurricanes 23 (Reynold Lee-Lo, TJ Perenara tries; Beauden Barret 2 cons; 3 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Jaco Peyper. Crowd: 11,304.
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Scott Sio (replaced by Ruan Smith)
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter (replaced by Fotu Auelua)
6. Peter Kimlin
7. Colby Faingaa
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Joe Tomane
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruan Smith
18. Fotu Auelua (replaced by Jordan Smiler)
19. Jordan Smiler
20. Ian Prior
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Clyde Rathbone