Hurricanes too good for the Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
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Hurricanes too good for the Brumbies

Hurricanes too good for the Brumbies

The Brumbies 2017 season is done after they went down to the Hurricanes 35-16 in Canberra tonight. The Brumbies had a slight lead at the break but just like in Napier earlier in the year, the Hurricanes took charge in the second half to put the Brumbies under defensive pressure to see them run away with the match and book their place in the semi-finals.

The Match

The Brumbies had all the ball in the opening minutes and despite looking a bit shaky in their attack, they eventually managed to get the opening try to winger James Dargaville after just three minutes after some strong runs in tight from the Brumbies forwards in the lead up.

The Hurricanes didn’t take long to hit back and they did it in style as Wes Goosen hot stepped his way through the defensive line off a lineout move near the 22 to level it at 5-5.

The Brumbies got the scoreboard ticking over again as they received a penalty about 40 metres out Wharenui Hawera converted his first kick of the night to make it 8-5.

It was a very good opening 15 minutes from the Brumbies as their backs started to make some gains out wide with Tom Banks and Andrew Smith making good metres out wide before their forwards got in on the act. A rolling maul try was next up with Josh Mann-Rea given the nod from the TMO after a few looks. Hawera’s attempt hit the uprights for the second time to leave it at 13-5.

The Hurricanes finally got a chance to settle into their game and worked up the field through pick and drives before trying to get their backs involved. Julian Savea went close but was stopped in a brilliant tackle from Banks and Kuridrani. They did eventually get over the line in unconventional style as a pass hit Ben May in the head and bounced forward and Jordie Barrett swopped to score their second of the night and he converted his own try to make it 13-12.

The Brumbies were able to edge their lead ahead again with another penalty goal to Hawera to make it 16-12.

The Hurricanes looked likely to score next but some good defence and a relieving a scrum penalty got the Brumbies off the hook.

Just before the break, the Hurricanes reduced the margin to one point but the Brumbies had a good chance to extend their lead after Hurricanes prop Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen was binned for a high hit on Hawera and then followed that with another penalty and attacked the line but the Hurricanes defence held them up over the line to leave it at 16-15 at the break.

The moment all rugby fans had waited for occurred at half time as Christian Lealiifano made his return to Super Rugby as he came on for James Dargaville and take his place at inside centre.

Early in the second half, the home side were lucky to escape with only conceding a penalty goal after a series of mistakes where they failed to find touch after a penalty and then a loose pass from Scott Fardy saw them under real pressure with a scrum on their own line.

They had to spend the next 20 minutes defending to keep the Hurricanes at bay as the visitors started to get front foot ball and put the Brumbies on the back foot in their own 22. Somehow the Brumbies were able to come away with another penalty goal conceded despite being under immense pressure.

With the Brumbies unable to get their hands in the ball in good field position they resorted to kicking it back to the Hurricanes which was not what the best idea and the pressure finally proved too much as the Hurricanes finally broke away with TJ Perenara collecting a nice pass from Dane Coles to make the margin 12 points with ten minutes remaining.

The Hurricanes added some icing on the cake as the Brumbies attempted to chase the game from deep in their own half and Wes Goosen swooped on an intercept from Robbie Abel to score his second of the night. Jordie Barrett converted to make the final score 35-16.

The Game Changer

The second half – the Brumbies had to defend for dear life but it caught up with them as the Hurricanes turned the screws to run away with it.


Ardie Savea – The Hurricanes forwards took charge of the show in the second half and Savea lead the way with some strong runs and tackle busts galore.

Wallaby Watch

A tough night for the Brumbies with a lot defending to do. The prop duo of Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa had a decent night in a tough game. Tevita Kuridrani had some strong carries and Rory Arnold put in a decent shift with some good work at the breakdowns.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Dargaville, Mann-Rea
Penalties: Hawera 2
Tries: Goosen 2, J Barrett, Perenara
Conversions: J Barrett 3
Penalties: J Barrett 3


40 mins – Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes) – Yellow



  • Who?

    Poor old Brums – they kept on turning over the pill – somehow – in their 22, but then the clearance kicks barely made it out of their 22!
    It looks to me as though the Wallabies’ tactic that only the 9 and 10 are permitted to kick clearances – as seen through June, when Cooper only kicked in the first game after Foley had been subbed (i.e. he didn’t kick in the third game when Foley was still out there), and all other kicks were taken by Foley, Genia or Powell – is actually Larkham’s tactic. Because we just saw the Brumbies pinned in their 22 for an eternity, because only Hawera and Cubelli were allowed to kick. Not one time did they line up Banks or Leali’ifano as a kicking option. I’m saying they not only didn’t kick, but they weren’t even positioned as an option, which made it easier for the defence to target Hawera and saw him almost charged down on his own tryline!!!
    EDIT: I should say almost charged Hawera down on his own dead ball line, from a 5m scrum. Not the tryline, the dead ball line. Which is more impressive/depressing.

    • Adrian

      You could be right re kicking strategy being a Larkham “special”

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Which is really stupid as Lealiifano is a great kicker

    • joy

      I reckon Jones will pick Cooper and Foley will still try to take the kicking from him.

      • Who?

        I’ve got no drama with Foley kicking, I’ve got a drama with ONLY Foley kicking… Or ONLY Cooper, or ONLY Hawera.
        If the defence knows that it might be someone else they need to cover for clearance kicks, then they can’t get to him as quickly to pressure him, because the ball might go elsewhere. That’s all. Same as last night – the Canes knew – from attacking setups, as well as history – that Hawera was the only option to receive the ball. So they were able to press so hard that they almost caught him on his dead ball lineoff a scrum.

  • Adrian

    Read blog, didn’t see it, but some hope from a Wallabies point of view

    • jay-c

      That’s what I took from the game.
      Kiwis are damn good with the ball, but without it they can’t score tries then they start to get frustrated and make mistakes when they do get it.
      That and good defence won’t allow the kiwis to play their game.

      • Huw Tindall

        See Lions series for detailed notes on the above :D

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Arnold was great as was Alaalatoa. Don’t know why they were taken off actually as the bench didn’t make things better

  • Tommy Brady

    Thanks Steve. Special credit to CL – from the place he’s come from, he was the winner on the night.

    And so it ends…. Still find it difficult to fathom that in 26 Super Rugby matches against NZ opposition this season, Australian sides lost all 26. Extraordinary!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      3 left to hope on mate

  • onlinesideline

    When Cuvelli came on and chip kicked the ball back after brumbies had been defending their arse off for 20 mins straight – havent seen something that dumb since Will Skelton came on and cleaned out someone with his elbow right in front of the ref. Dumbest thing Ive ever seen.

    If you are going to relieve pressure then kick the thing down the touch line deep. If you dont have the skills then dont kick at all – or do an up and under – anythingggg but a pointless chip kick back to other scrumhalf. The Brumbies were threatening too – they were linking well and ready to do a brumbies classic bounce back – absolute madness – brainlesss.

    CL – Congratulations !

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah I don’t think Cuvelli will be missed that much based on last night. Got some good turn overs but gave away some dumb ball that killed off the Brumbies

  • Will

    Congrats Hurricanes – deserved winners and best of luck for the net few matches!

    Listening to TJ at the end of the game talk about heaping the pressure onto teams that leads to mistakes as their general gameplan was interesting. The Brums like all Aus teams this year were very guilty of stupid chip kicks, knock-ons or turning over the ball just when opposite teams were beginning to feel the pressure of phased ball in hand attack. Cubelli & Hawera’s kicks in the second half I felt were pressure release valve for the Canes tonight – I think they were choosing the wrong time to kick – like this robotic style of play we have endured for years now.

    At least the wallabies might get some fitness on board between now and Aug?

    • Who?

      I actually thought Cubelli outplayed TJ in the second half last night…

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Really! He pulled off a couple of great turnovers but his passing and kicking was absolute arse.

        • Who?

          Yep. TJ didn’t have his best game. Took far too long to get rid of the ball when he was simply clearing it, and was far too upright when he ran, leaving himself open to getting held up. Also threw a lot of high passes – Laumape was turned over (held up, mauled and turned over) because he had to jump for a pass.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No mate I meant Cubelli’s kicking and passing was arse. Wasted kicks to no-one that relieved pressure for the Canes, and the number of passes that went behind the player he was passing to was way too many for this level of rugby.

      • Miss Rugby

        In general play maybe, but his kicking was a massive liability and played a pretty big part in the big margin at the end. He is a fantastic player and we will miss him, but they looked a lot better with Powell on the field.

  • Fatflanker

    Have to applaud a gutsy defensive effort from the Brumbies for most of the game. Set piece was also very good. Clearance kicking typically awful – such a crippling disadvantage not to be able to consistently clear your own quarter. A bit of luck might have seen a much closer game nonetheless but Hurricanes deserved their win – wish them luck for the remaining games.

    • Huw Tindall

      The falcon try was arguably the worst luck I’ve ever seen on a rugby pitch. Came at a crucial time too.

  • Ricky Johnson

    I get the feeling that with all Australian teams SR season over we will see an announcement in the coming weeks that the Brumbies are the team to be cut.

    • joy

      Yeh Nah. They’re going to renege on the deal and resign. Kafer will be the new boss of the ARU.

      • Ricky Johnson

        Smaller commercial market, smaller population, smaller scope for growth than the alternatives.

        If they can only get 9,771 to a finals match against last years winners, which has come amazing talent, and with the return of the return of CL (which is an awesome story) what does next years round robin attendances look like?

        • joy

          I suggest attendance depends on the quality of rugby they play.

        • Ricky Johnson

          OK, so round 1 attendances will be poor?

          With numbers like last night, hosting a match loses money.

          Rod Kafer is not the man to run the ARU. He will get annihilated in meetings where the ARU stands to gain the most, but also lose the most.

        • Merrow

          Obviously they played a better quality than anyone else in the Oz conference, although the Force played well too. I know quite few Brums fans that stayed home because it was too cold for them – poor petals.

        • onlinesideline

          tahs crowds are terrible too – in fact they all are. Super is finished, we all know it – 2 years tops

    • John Bands

      That’s the rumour floating around atm. Not sure how much truth there is to it though.

      • Tommy Brady

        Thanks John. Let me guess… Zero.

    • Tommy Brady

      Why would the ARU cut a team from the capital city where gov’t funding is handed out from?

      Why would they cut the single best performing AUS franchise?

  • Hutch

    I was one of the fans freezing out there. Shame about the result, but the Brumbies can mostly hold their heads high. They dominated the first half and defended like mad men in the second. Tevita, Arnold, Fardy and Allalatoa were excellent as usual, but Andrew Smith was close to man of the match for me. Deserves a starting spot next year.

    The clearance kicking in the second one half lost us the game, story of the season really. The Brumbies should through a bucket of money at Reece Hodge when he is off contract. His boot would fix the team’s biggest weakness.

    • Who?

      Clearance kicking was a problem, but half the problem was that every kick was rushed. Even off the scrum. Which, as per my post below, was because Hawera was the only one lining up to take the kicks, in spite of the fact that Leali’ifano and Banks were also out there, and are more than useful. That meant that even off the scrum, Hawera was under extreme pressure to get the kicks away…

  • first time long time

    I am not for second suggesting it affected the outcome and I quite like Glen Jackson but it is strange that every quarter final had either a neutral or “home town” ref except the Brumbies.

  • idiot savant

    Deserved win to Canes but Brums were gallant. If the Wallaby forwards can play with the same commitment shown by the Brums pack we should be competitive at times.

    Strange how the Wallaby backs coach for two seasons now can produce the best forward pack with front foot ball and a backline largely firing blanks with it. Id love to see the Reds backs with this forward pack. But you do have to wonder about the Brums recruiting staff and eye for talent. Godwin and Hawera recruited to little attacking effect. Their most attacking player (Banks) was a last minute pickup. It will be interesting to see how backs recruiting changes now Bernie has gone.

    • Wallabrumby

      I think a big factor with the forwards is Dan McKella, who has learnt from Laurie Fisher. This year they were in it for all the games (bar Canes in Wellington) but just needed a good 5/8 to straighten the line when on the front foot (which Lilo will bring) and someone who can kick for territory. I can see Hodge if Rebels get scrapped fitting in there somewhere very well. Also missing a good ball running forward / dominant #8.

      • idiot savant

        Lilos been 5/8 before tho and the Brums backs have not been set alight. Perhaps its coaching and the backs have been coached to provide only the safest range of line running options for him to choose from? I have the greatest respect for Lilo and he’s a great goal kicker but I always thought Toomua was the better flyhallf in that team.

        Not sure about the 8. The Brumbies have matched or bettered all the packs as you say without needing a Loane/Kefu type. Im not sure thats the right type anymore in the modern game. Read is a wide running ball player( like Higginbotham) so the ABs dont play that kind of 8 anymore. I like Smiler a lot. Not a heavy runner thats true but great work rate and clever.

        On the 10, you’ve got me thinking they should sit Hodge down to watch tapes of Paul McLean. He was primarily a great kicker and that was how he controlled games. But wingers scored a lot of tries with him at the helm. Partly because he knew when to pass, run (rarely) or kick. Of course someone will have to tell the half back he needs the ball quickly….

  • Adrian

    How’s this sound?

    “Because they have been the best performed Australian team, they Brumbies have been entrusted with the role of consolidating Rugby in Melbourne, which is Australia’s biggest sporting market.

    To this end the Brumbies, under the financial supervision of the ARU have acquired the Rebels franchise, and will subsume it into their own operations.

    The Brumbies will play a proportion of their games in Melbourne from 2018 onwards.

    The ARU, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels will not be revealing the agreed terms at this stage, other than to say that the whole process will be cost neutral to all parties courtesy of new sponsorship, and that all player contracts will be honoured”

    • Miss Rugby

      In other words “Because they are the best performed Australian team, the Brumbies are going to be taken away from their fans and put into Melbourne to help the least successful team. Fans in Canberra might get to see some preseason matches and 1 or 2 rounds against low profile opposition, but the best games will be kept for Melbourne because we desperately want to raise the profile of rugby there.”

      Sounds like a great way to kill off professional rugby in Canberra, but then I get the feeling that this is the end game for a lot of the pro merger ppl, as long as Melbourne gets to keep a team there. A lot of fans here won’t want to support what would essentially be a Melbourne based team with Brumbies branding.
      They would be a team that is half supported in Melbourne and partially supported in Canberra but no real home.
      Why punish the most successful team and their fans by moving them in with the least successful team?

      • Adrian

        Your 100% right Miss Rugby

        I didn’t say it was logical, it’s just an example of the sort of things they say

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Who said this?

        • Adrian

          Me,… sorry, totally made up by me, but example of ARU type talk and action/non action. Perhaps a prediction….

        • idiot savant

          Been lunching at Otto again?

      • jamie

        Their fans? Where were the on Friday night?

        Who cares about Canberra anyway. A tiny city compared to Melbourne, and most of em are pollies and Public servants anyway…

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