Rugby: Hurricanes handed a reality check by rampant Brumbies

By Adam Cooper

Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua looks to get past the Hurricanes defence. Photo/Getty.
Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua looks to get past the Hurricanes defence. Photo/Getty.

A mixture of expectation and questions surrounded the Hurricanes heading into the new Super Rugby season but the 2015 finalists opened the season with a harsh reality check.

The Hurricanes were dominated last night by a slick Brumbies outfit, whose physical power up front and fierce counter-attacking proved too destructive for the visitors.

The Canes dominated possession for much of the opening 40, but their new-look backline spent only minutes inside their opponents' 22.

The Brumbies were put under heat by the visitors early on with pressure at the breakdown and scrum mixed with some probing attacks, but the opening try to Tevita Kuridrani from a runaway counter-attack set up a slow momentum change for the hosts.

All three first-half Brumbies tries resulted from counter-attacks, with David Pocock's try right on halftime the result of a crafty lineout move.

Despite a Ngani Laumape consolation try early in the second spell, set up by a slick Nehe Milner-Skudder break, the Brumbies' flair and dominance prevailed with ease right through the match.

With their world-renowned midfield combination Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith now a distant memory, the Hurricanes couldn't rely on their remaining senior backline members who looked frantic and jittery, and failed to produce the attacking potency that made the franchise such a force in 2015.

Winger Julian Savea made a number of handling errors, several of which came while under zero pressure, while Beauden Barrett and Cory Jane also made mistakes at key moments which allowed the impressive Brumbies outfit to capitalise and convert their chances.

Nehe Milner-Skudder proved one positive for the Hurricanes, with the 2015 debutant showing signs of his classy best with probing line breaks. Unfortunately for the All Blacks fullback, the rest of his team weren't up to his level.

New recruits Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso, attempting to replace Nonu and Smith, both made several probing breaks.

While the match exposed several concerns for the Hurricanes, the rest of the competition should take note of a Brumbies outfit that sent out a clear early message regarding their championship credentials.

Brumbies 52 (T. Kuridrani, T. Cubelli, D. Pocock, S. Fardy, S. Moore, J. Mann-Rea, S. Carter tries; C. Lealiifano pen, 6 cons)

Hurricanes 10 (N. Laumape try; B. Barrett pen, con). Halftime: 24-3.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 Sep 2016 23:52:13 Processing Time: 476ms