Powerful Hurricanes see off Brumbies
The Hurricanes outlined their title credentials by outmuscling the Brumbies triumphing 56-21 at McLean Park in Napier.
The 2016 Super Rugby Champions overturned a 14-21 half-time deficit to put in a display of power and quality to take the points with Vince Aso claiming a try-scoring treble in an incredible second stanza that yielded 42 unanswered points.
After a bright start by the Brumbies it was the home team, with the best attacking record in the competition, who hit the front in the 7th minute.
Aidan Toua’s clearance kick reached halfway but failed to find touch and the Hurricanes returned it with interest, centre Aso bursting through a ragged Brumbies defence on a clear run to the line for his eighth try of the season. Jordie Barrett’s conversion was a formality.
It got worse for the Brumbies five minutes later. Prop Scott Sio was forced to leave the field through injury, replaced by Nic Mayhew, shortly before a second Hurricanes score.
From a line-out in the red zone Beauden Barrett hoisted an inch-perfect cross-field kick for Cory Jane to outleap Toua and stroll across with Jordie Barrett unerringly blasting over the conversion from out wide.
Trailing 14-0 the Brumbies responded in astonishing fashion scoring three tries in seven minutes. Firstly, after obtaining decent field position for the first time in the contest Captain Sam Carter found scrum-half Joe Powell at the back of a lineout.
Powell’s inside pass was perfect for replacement prop Mayhew, flying through a gap and advancing towards the line before offloading to the supporting Tevita Kuridrani who crashed over, Hawera added the extras and suddenly it was game on.
Amazingly the Brumbies drew level almost immediately. Henry Speight sparked it with a scintillating break deep into Hurricanes territory. After concerted pressure on the Kiwi line, including a quick tap penalty by Speight, Carter was on hand to dive over near the posts making the conversion a simple one for Hawera.
The Brumbies weren’t finished. Off the restart the McLean Park crowd was treated to one of the tries of the season.
The move started inside the Brumbies 22 and carried on through several sets of hands as forwards and backs interchanged fluidly, culminating in Scott Fardy and Toua combining to find Powell who ran in behind the sticks. Hawera’s third successful kick put the Brumbies in front 14-21 at the interval.
It didn’t take long for the pendulum to swing at the start of the second half though as, in the 42nd minute, Hawera was sent to the sin-bin for kicking the ball whilst on the floor and against the fourteen men the ‘Canes struck twice.
Beauden Barrett again caught the Brumbies napping with a cross-field kick and Blade Thomson patted the ball back for Aso to shake off an attempted tackle and grab his second try of the match. Jordie Barrett squared it all up at 21-21. And minutes later Barrett found Aso on a straight line off a short pass and the centre had his hat-trick.
When Hawera returned to the fray, his attempted clearance was charged down by Hurricanes replacement Callum Gibbins who added the fifth home try with a simple run in. He was followed to the line by Mark Abbott and Gibbins added the seventh at the back of a rolling maul as the Brumbies ran out of puff.
The home side were full of running throughout an inspired second forty and ended the match with another Beauden Barrett cross-field kick that found an unmarked Ngani Laumape who cantered over. Otere Black, on for Jordie Barrett added the extras to conclude a tactically superb second half.
Hurricanes (14) 56 (T: V. Aso (3), C. Jane, C. Gibbins (2), M. Abbott, N. Laumape, C: J. Barrett (7), O. Black) def Brumbies (21) 21 (T: T. Kuridrani, S. Carter, J. Powell, C: W. Hawera (3))
- Scott SIO (17. Nic MAYHEW 11’)
- Josh MANN-REA (16. Robbie ABEL 66’)
- Allan ALAALATOA (18. Ben ALEXANDER 71’)
- Rory ARNOLD (19. Blake ENEVER 66’)
- Sam CARTER (c)
- Scott FARDY
- Chris ALCOCK
- Jarrad BUTLER (20. Lolo FAKAOSILEA 57’)
- Joe POWELL (21. De Wet ROOS 68’)
- Wharenui HAWERA
- James DARGAVILLE (23. Nigel AH WONG 74’)
- Andrew SMITH (22. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE 69’)
- Tevita KURIDRANI
- Henry SPEIGHT
- Aidan TOUA