Rugby: Lealiifano boots Brumbies past 'Canes

Ben Mowen of the Brumbies off loads the ball during the round 16 Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images
Ben Mowen of the Brumbies off loads the ball during the round 16 Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images

Brumbies sharpshooter Christian Lealiifano kicked six penalty goals from as many attempts to boot his side to a narrow 30-23 victory over the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby clash in Canberra last night.

The Brumbies looked to have the match sewn up after a try to blindside flanker Peter Kimlin gave them a 14 point lead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

But the Hurricanes finished with a wet sail, first through a converted try to halfback TJ Perenara and then a disallowed TMO decision in the corner to captain Conrad Smith.

The desperate Hurricanes continued to smash away at the Brumbies line, questionably turning down several penalty shots at goal before an accidental offside allowed the Brumbies to escape with a narrow win.

The Brumbies played a conservative kicking gameplan for the second straight week, with halfback and Wallabies hopeful Nic White putting in another stellar performance.

White's countless probing kicks created havoc for the Hurricanes and gave his side several opportunities deep within the opposition's half.

Inside centre Lealiifano kicked a total of 20 points, his only blemish being a tough conversion attempt following the Brumbies' first try to halfback White.

With White's try coming off the back of an overthrown Hurricanes lineout five metres out, it was the second consecutive match the opportunistic No.9 scored the first try of the game by pouncing on a mistake by the opposition.

The Brumbies had the lion's share of possession and territory early on, but failed to jump away to an unassailable lead due to numerous errors and having the ball stolen off them close to the Hurricanes' line too many times.

The home team also had a nightmare night with their kick-off returns which allowed the Hurricanes to hit back on the scoreboard immediately on several occasions.

Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said he spoke to his side about their defensive structures whilst awaiting behind the tryline for the close TMO decision.

"That's the most important thing in those moments, just to go back to those absolute basics. It calms everyone down," he said.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett stood by his side's decision not to take the three points when on offer late in the match.

"We had the Brumbies going back and were creating a lot of go forward," he said.

Hammett noted the Brumbies' strong kicking game meant his side was unable to get a roll on until they got the ball in good field position late in the match.

Brumbies coach Jake White said he was very happy with the performance of man-of-the-match Colby Faingaa, who is off to the Rebels next year.

"I have no doubts Colby is a fantastic rugby player and he's going to make it," White said.
Meanwhile, Brumbies enforcer Fotu Auelua could be in doubt for next week's match against the Rebels after temporarily dislocating his shoulder in the second half.


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