The game was played away from Wellington, in Napier where the ground has a 22,000 capacity. The conditions were soft and slippery underfoot, but the players made a nonsense of that with their play.
The Hurricanes started furiously and soon had the Brumbies on the back foot. The first scrums were looking ugly for the Brumbies and Sio had to be replaced with a knee injury in the first seven minutes. Mayhew came on to steady the ship. The Brumbies were not committing enough players to the ruck and were getting blown off at will. Aso went in off the cut to make it 7-0 and then Beauden Barratt kicked under advantage to Jane, who out-jumped Toua to score. 14-0.
Then the Brumbies decided to give their opponents a dose of their own medicine. Kuridrani made a great break,then grubbered for Powell but the ball went dead. Toua then kicked and, with a good chase, the Hurricanes were penalised for holding on. Brumbies kicked for the corner. Their maul was disrupted, but the got the scrum. The Hurricanes turned it over and kicked to the 22. Off the lineout, the Brumbies were expected to maul, but Powell ran, Mayhew and offloaded to Kuridrani to score. 14-7. From the kick-off Speight ran well then kicked; Beauden cleared but only to the 5m line. After about 15 phases Carter scored under the posts. 14-14. From the kick-off Speight ran again and the Brumbies went coast to coast. 21-14.
That’s where it ended at half time. The Brumbies were in front but under tremendous pressure.
The second half started with pressure from the Hurricanes and a good run from Beauden Barrett stopped close to the line but the referee adjudged that Hawera had played the ball on the ground and he received a yellow card. In the next ten minutes the Hurricanes scored twice. Aso went in to make it 21-21 and Toua made a horrible kick-off . On the front foot, the Hurricanes attacked and Aso went in again. 28-21.
Now back to 15, the Brumbies were again under the pump and after a period, the Hurricanes scored again through Gibbons to lead 35-21. They then scored another three tries, all converted. Final score 56-21.
They tried hard but ultimately were blown away. Speight had a good game, as did Mayhew off the bench early. But ultimately they were playing up a grade and that’s how it turned out.
This was a Beauden Barrett masterclass. He kicked, he ran, he passed. An absolutely brilliant display. The Hurricanes forwards were ferocious and most times knocked the Brumbies backwards, which killed their momentum. They look to be a complete team and on the road to the finals.
The Game Changer
The yellow card marked the turning point. But you could see it coming from the very start of the second half.
The G&GR MOTM
Hands down, Beauden Barrett. The man is scarcely human.
Speight was excellent, Arnold and Kuridrani OK, Ala’alatoa and Carter reasonable.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Aso 3, Gibbons 2, Jane, Abbott, Laumape 1.
Conversions: J. Barrett 7, Black 1
Tries: Kuridrani, Carter, Speight
Conversions: Hawera 3
Cards & citings