It’s been over 800 days since the Brumbies last defeated a side from New Zealand but the Brumbies finally broke the drought with a 24-12 win over the Hurricanes.
It was four tries to two in the end but could have been more as a number of chances went begging with a mixed bag from the Brumbies attack on the night allowing the Hurricanes defence free reign at times.
There was certainly plenty of action throughout with Kyle Godwin getting over the line in the first half followed by Folau Fainga’a, Rory Arnold and Andy Muirhead in the second half with the Hurricanes tries coming within the opening 15 minutes to TJ Perenara and Julian Savea.
The running battle with Nick Briant, Perenara and David Pocock was also a highlight as all three looked to further their refereeing careers with some ‘advice’ handed out at various times, whether it was needed or not but it was Pocock who would come out the winner as he claimed man of the match honours.
The Hurricanes got off to quick start with a try within four minutes to Perenera. He was lurking at the back of a Brumbies lineout five metres out and Joe Powell couldn’t have picked him out any better as he threw an intercept to Perenara who dived to collect the ball and score in the same motion.
The Brumbies had their chance with the ball and benefitted from some ill discipline from the visitors in their own 22. They declined shots at penalty goal and spread the ball wide and Connacht-bound Kyle Godwin replied for the Brumbies.
Even without a host of players, the Hurricanes looked in control and with Perenara running the backline and combining with Jackson Garden-Bachop, they had the Brumbies defence on the back foot and Julian Savea only needed a bit of space to have the Hurricanes second try.
The Brumbies were playing down their own end for most of the half with limited chances to attack with the Hurricanes defence hard to crack. One of the few times they did get down in the Hurricanes 22 after a break from Rory Arnold, Jordie Barrett disrupted the ball and after a look from the TMO it was ruled legal as the ball was raked backward. That was followed by a penalty to get the Hurricanes off the hook.
The Brumbies looked to have hit back just before the break but Isi Naisarani was short in grounding the ball as he reached out and then knocked on which summed up the Brumbies half as a poor grubber option from Lealiifano ended the half at 12-5.
Embed from Getty Images
The Brumbies only needed two minutes to level the scores in the second half as the Hurricanes discipline again got them in trouble. This time an early tackle after they dropped the restart allowed the Brumbies a 5 metre lineout and after rolling it close, Folau Fainga’a came up with try and save the Hurricanes from a certain yellow card.
The Hurricanes went close to hitting back almost immediately as Nehe Milner-Skudder put on the stutter after the Hurricanes made some easy metres out wide and he dived to score but the TMO ruled his foot was in touch, proving that highlight yellow boots don’t always look great.
But it was the Brumbies who would take the lead as they attacked from close range and the big frame of Rory Arnold reached out to score to make it 17-12.
The discipline of the Hurricanes finally caught up with them as replacement Blade Thomson, who only just came onto the field, copped a yellow card as the trend of penalties started to creep back into their play.
Even without much possession the Hurricanes defence stood up well to repel the Brumbies attack, as their strength in the tackle to hold the player up and earn a scrum was evident.
The Brumbies had the Hurricanes on the ropes but their attack was struggling to land the killer blow with some poor decisions and handling errors not helping their cause.
Kyle Godwin went close to scoring his second of the match as he tried to make something out of nothing with a rare successful chip kick over the top but lost the ball right on the line.
Andy Muirhead was the next to bomb a try for the Brumbies after Lealiifano had linked up with Tevita Kuridrani Matt Lucas down the left wing but Jordie Barrett made a miraculous try saving effort to deny the try that looked certain to be scored.
But he would make up for that effort after a big scrum gave the Brumbies advantage and a wide pass found him on the win to seal a long awaited win, 24-12.
The Game Changer
The second half performance was pretty scratchy from the Brumbies with a few butchered chances but they did enough to keep the Hurricanes scoreless in the second period.
The G&GR MOTM
David Pocock – He got belted around the ruck numerous times and had a good verbal sparring session with TJ Perenara
Not much Test series hangover for Pocock. With limited time in the Test series, Rory Arnold Folau Fainga’a and Tevita Kuridrani – who ran for 105 metres – had strong games
Score & Scorers
Tries: Godwin, Fainga’a, Rory Arnold, Muirhead
Conversions: Lealiifano, Lucas
Tries: Perenara, J Savea,
Conversions: J. Barrett
54 mins – Blade Thomson (Hurricanes) – Yellow