Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Brumbies hand Hurricanes home defeat

Poor defence and errors cost Wellington side third loss on end

Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies. Photo / Getty Images

Brumbies 29 Hurricanes 21

Being disappointed in your performance only counts for so much.

With three losses from as many games to start their Super Rugby season, the Hurricanes have to take a serious look at themselves during the next week.

They were beaten 29-21 by the Brumbies at Westpac Stadium last night (fri), which added to the two defeats they copped on their season-opening tour to South Africa.

Their second outing in the Republic was especially brutal as they went down 19-18 in the final minutes to the Stormers in Cape Town and that game appears to have taken some confidence away from the Hurricanes.

They struggled to mount any meaningful structure against the Brumbies last night as they attacked without shape, failed to maintain possession and generally lacked direction.

The whole team are hurting and they've said they're disappointed but the reality is they need to perform, considering their coach Mark Hammett is in a contract year.

Hammett said he wanted to work through what was going wrong for his team rather than give them a blast and he urged people to remember the men from the capital had endured a tough draw to begin the campaign.

"We had a South African trip and played the finalists from last year [the Brumbies] so we probably need to keep things in perspective,'' Hammett said.

The problem for the Hurricanes was more in the way they lost last night as they looked flat throughout a contest that was played in front of only 8096 people.

Skipper Conrad Smith thought his side were guilty of trying to force too many things, which accounted for the passes to thin air and the dropped balls.

"We were letting ourselves down with errors and unfortunately they stayed with us right through the game and at the start it meant we weren't converting points and later on we were lacking them,'' Smith said.

"So I don't know if we got a little frustrated that we hadn't scored points and I just feel we were trying too hard.''

Surprisingly, this was a game the Hurricanes led 13-3 late in the first spell before the visitors retorted with two quick tries before the split to take a 15-13 lead to the break.

Another try early in the second half saw the Brumbies push further ahead and the Hurricanes were suffocated during the final 40 minutes as they failed to hold on to the ball to help mount a meaningful comeback.

A late Blade Thomson five-pointer gave the home side hope but when Beauden Barrett's sideline conversion attempt missed the mark the result was confirmed.

It was just an off-night all-round for the Hurricanes who were also forced to juggle their midfield resources as second-five Hadleigh Parkes was a late scratching due to a shoulder complaint.

Southland's Cardiff Vaega made his Super Rugby debut in the No 12 jersey and struggled to make an impact, while Smith also played a large part of the second half one spot closer to the action rather than his usual role at centre.

Considering midfielder Tim Bateman has been out with a knee injury, Hammett said deciding on who would play second-five next week was yet another thing for his management team to worry about as they look towards hosting the Cheetahs at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Brumbies 29 (Jesse Mogg, Robbie Coleman, Tevita Kuridrani, Lachlan McCaffrey tries, Nic White pen, 3 con)
Hurricanes 21 (TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson tries; Beauden Barrett 3 pen con)
Halftime: 15-13

- NZ Herald

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