Preview: Brumbies v. Hurricanes Quater Final - Green and Gold Rugby
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Preview: Brumbies v. Hurricanes Quater Final

Preview: Brumbies v. Hurricanes Quater Final

So it is finals time in Super Rugby and the Brumbies are the sole Australian representative and have a huge task ahead of them when they take on the Hurricanes on Friday night.

Most are expecting the Brumbies to offer little more than an opposed training run for the defending champions who lead most of the attacking stats but knockout rugby can bring on a whole different challenge and the Brumbies have sprung a surprise in the finals before – think Pretoria 2013.

With their spot in the finals assured, the Brumbies rested the majority of their starting side last week against the Chiefs in Hamilton and despite losing that one, they avoided a heavy defeat and have reverted to their strongest available side for this week. On the other hand, the Hurricanes managed to knock off the undefeated and highflying Crusaders.

If they are to pull off an upset the Brumbies will have to play a near flawless game to execute their game plan. The obvious plan would be to keep the ball away from the Hurricanes attacking threats at any cost, which is easier said than done when you consider they got carved up on kick returns in the last game and have one of the top try scorers in the competition playing in this match. Oh and they also have the Barrett brothers. And the Savea brothers. I might just stop there…

These two last met back in April over in Napier with the Hurricanes running away with it in the second half after the Brumbies lead at half time but there might have been a slight glimpse of how best to approach the Hurricanes. One area to focus on will be to defuse the cross-field kicks and defend like their lives depend on it, amongst others, if they are to stay in this one.

It might surprise some but the Brumbies do have the third best defensive record behind the Hurricanes and Lions. They will be relying on their ability to slow down the ruck ball with Scott Fardy and Chris Alcock doing their best to be ruck pests and stop the likes of TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett getting front foot ball and unleashing Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder outside them.

On to other matters, I’ve seen some special games for the Brumbies since they started way back in 1996 – the win against Transvaal in their first ever competitive match, 2 Super Rugby wins, the return to rugby by Julian Huxley in 2010 following a brain tumor – but Friday night might top those with the return to Super Rugby after nearly a year by the inspirational Christian Lealiifano after a battle with Leukaemia. His presence on the field will no doubt give them a spark whenever he takes to the field that Brumbies fans hope might end in a fairytale finish.

Christian Lealiifano passes the word out along the line about field placement.


Whilst it would be a major boil over for the Brumbies to get up here, I don’t think it will be the 50 point blowout that some (over the ditch) are predicting but the attacking threat of the Hurricanes is a scary proposition and they should get home by somewhere around the 12 point margin.



1. Scott Sio
2. Josh Mann-Rea
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Sam Carter (c)
6. Scott Fardy
7. Chris Alcock
8. Jordan Smiler
9. Joe Powell
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. James Dargaville
12. Andrew Smith
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight
15. Tom Banks

16. Robbie Abel
17. Ben Alexander
18. Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin
19. Blake Enever
20. Jarrad Butler
21. Tomas Cubelli
22. Jordan Jackson-Hope
23. Christian Lealiifano


1. Ben May
2. Ricky Riccitelli
3. Jeff To’omaga-Allen
4. Mark Abbott
5. Sam Lousi
6. Vaea Fifita
7. Ardie Savea
8. Brad Shields
9. TJ Perenara (c)
10. Beauden Barrett
11. Julian Savea
12. Ngani Laumape
13. Jordie Barrett
14. Wes Goosen
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder

16 Dane Coles
17 Chris Eves
18 Loni Uhila
19 Reed Prinsep
20 Callum Gibbins
21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
22 Otere Black
23 Cory Jane

Let’s now go back in time to 1997 when these two sides last played a finals game in Canberra.

  • formerflanker

    With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, wasn’t it great to see an Australian team hitting the ball at pace so consistently?
    Played in the days before marketing ruled Rugby. The game was between ACT and Wellington.

  • jamie

    I’d say the Brums piggies have the canes pipped, but the backs and bench are massively in the Canes favour. Cory Jane on the bench, sheesh…

    What an upset the Kiwis think this would be if our Ponies stepped up and delivered.

    I truly hope Lelo comes good. He’s a quality player and his character and attitude throughout this have been second to none. Go you good thing!

    • Wallabrumby

      Agree Re forwards (less Shields) Need Kuridrani to stand up and dominate if they are any chance, with J Barrett at outside in an unfamiliar position there is an opportunity there….slim but hey no one through the B&IL would compete.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate more than just the kiwis would think it’d be an upset. Still look at the Sunwolves last week. The uncertainty is all part of what I love about this game.

  • Pedro

    Thanks for the write up Steve. To get excited I was watching this:

    The brumbies defense, pack and set piece give them a chance. You gotta dream come finals time, brumbies by two, lealiifano kicking the winning points.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      As much as I’d hate that it would be pretty massive

    • Tomthusiasm

      I’ve was at this game, I’ve traveled to the Berra a few times to watch the Canes and I’ve never seen them win there. I’m doing my bit by not going tonight!

  • Christopher

    That ‘canes backline….ouch.

  • Adrian

    I predicted 25 to Hurricanes a few days ago here, so I’ll stick with it. Brumbies look better on paper than I thought.

    Hurricane forwards are good I think, and Coles will make a difference when he comes on.

    Brumbies bench poor, but by the time they are on, Hurricane stars will be off.

    Perenara will control the game, but Barrett will be the executioner

    • Pedro

      Your prediction may well be right but I think you’re a bit harsh on the brumbies bench. All of them have started plenty of games except for jjh. When you consider that there wasn’t room for Staniforth, it’s pretty solid.

  • Nutta

    With Thanks Steve

    Clearly the Canes are the Big Dogs and deserve the recognition as such. They are a seriously good footy team.

    1. The Donkeys generally defend well. And this is finals footy
    2. I think Alcock is hugely underrated at the B.Down
    3. The return of Leaf will have them stirred up
    4. I reckon the incessant carry-on of TJP is aggravating refs against the Canes and pressure will bring that out starkly

    So if the Donkey’s make their tackles, refrain from loose kicking, chase what they do kick in a structured manner and then hold their discipline and mouths shut whilst TJ runs off with his gob then I say they have an evens shot.

    Big game, odds stacked against, freezing cold… it’s what finals footy is all about.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Go the CANES!!!!!!!!

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks BH. Overall, I think the Brumbies’ defense will keep them in the game (look at the long periods last week the second string side held the Chiefs at bay on the try line), however, their systems fall down when defending broken play from deep. The secret will be to keep the ball away from the Canes’ back three. So when forced to clear with a kick, they must find touch and then rely on their defensive structures to keep the Canes under control and perhaps win some turn over ball.

    Also, as you mentioned, they need to defuse the cross field kick/pass. Best way to do that is to keep the outside defender out near the sideline. Forget about a compressed defense leaving a 15 – 20m channel down the side.

    Expect the Canes to win by two or three converted tries and to go on to win the title again this year.

  • Tomthusiasm

    I don’t know why, but our front row are slow starters. They always get few early scrum penalties against them but later in the game they start to work themselves into the game. So over the 80 mins they’re usually pretty solid.

  • Pedro

    People are just looking for an area of weakness and there aren’t as many household names in the forwards.

    Plus the brumbies forwards have been pretty good with not much between the starters and the bench.

  • John Bands

    Agreed. The Canes have a much stronger loose forward trio, the better starting hooker and a world class hooker to come off the bench. I give the Brumbies an edge in the locking department and a slightly bigger edge when it comes to the props. All in all, I would call it an even battle up front but the Canes have the more explosive set of forwards.

  • Hoss

    Like a bankrupt farmer -we don’t have the cattle to get a result

    Forget game plans, man for man, pound for pound we are outgunned, out-thought (out coached) and will get belted, but ill still watch, i follow the Tah’s i can watch any natural disaster and feel no pain after this years suffering.

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