Super rugby Trans Tasman

Brumbies edge Hurricanes in thriller

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The Brumbies edged the Hurricanes 12-10 in a bruising but thrilling Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Round Four clash at GIO Stadium, Canberra.

The Brumbies ended a four-game losing streak with a hard-fought two-point victory against the previously unbeaten Hurricanes.

Tries from Ryan Lonergan and Len Ikitau saw the Brumbies overcome the odds and upset their New Zealand opponents.

Noah Lolesio converted Lonergan’s score, which proved enough at the final whistle.


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Dane Coles scored the Wellington side’s only try. Jordie Barrett converted and kicked a penalty, but the visitors were kept scoreless in the second half.

Barrett, usually solid from the tee, especially in match-winning situations fluffed two late penalties as the ACT side hung on for a surprising win.

A late controversial call by the officials saw Alex Fidow’s 73rd-minute try chalked off for a knock-on.

The two missed Barrett penalties, within two minutes of each other in the final three minutes of the game, ended an absorbing contest.

Barrett earlier missed a penalty two minutes after the interval, which looks more costly after the result.

A win for Jason Holland’s side would have seen the Hurricanes move to second on the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman table; instead, they remain fourth on the log.

Defeat has made them outsiders to make the final, a game they looked certain to be in after an impressive tournament.

The Hurricanes had won 11 of their previous 13 Super Rugby matches in Australia; however, those two defeats came at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra.

This loss will hurt more than most. For the Brumbies, victory will be sweet.

The teams share a try apiece after a bruising first half

The summary of the first stanza will be the big ball carriers getting over the advantage line and the big hits from two solid defenses.

Dan McKellar’s men had – slightly – the better of both possession (54%) and territory (53%) in the first half.

They also won more rucks; however, they conceded more turnovers, especially inside the opposition’s 22.

Both teams enjoyed long series of attacks with possession, but could not turn pressure into points. Each attack always ended with a turnover from an unforced error.

The two lineout set-pieces was a game within a game, but the home team could not get their driving maul going.

Sustained pressure from the Brumbies ended with Ryan Lonergan sneaking over from close range in the 12th-minute after darting around a ruck.

Lolesio added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

But the Hurricanes hit back five minutes later when Coles crashed over from a rolling maul.

Up to that point, the Brumbies had successfully stopped three previous driving mauls, but they could do nothing to stop Coles.

The 34-year-old hooker broke off the maul and burst through Ryan Lonergan and Lolesio to score. Barrett levelled from wide.

The Brumbies could make their numerical advantage count when Du’Plessis Kirifi was yellow-carded in the first half.

Kirifi’s high tackle on Darcy Swain saw the Brumbies’ second-rower leave the field and fail an HIA.

However, the hosts could not capitalise during several sustained series of attacks inside the opposition’s 22.

Lolesio was held up by Barrett a minute later after the hosts camped on the visitor’s try line.

The Hurricanes kept the home team scoreless during Kirifi’s 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

They, in fact, took the lead soon after the 24-year-old flanker returned when Barrett kicked a penalty three minutes before halftime.

Holland’s team could have gone into the break with a bigger lead, but a mix-up between Salesi Rayasi and James Blackwell put paid to that.

The stubborn defence continued to give the game a Test match-like feel

Barrett pulled a penalty past the post, two minutes after the restart.

Both defenses continued to hold firm. Bayley Kuenzle went close after a midfield break, but he was tackled before the line.

Players began to drop like flies as the game took on a Test match feel; mistakes would prove the difference, that and fitness.

It did not take long before McKellar’s men found the try line.

Ikitau scored a superb solo try on 52 minutes.

Ikitau took Nic White’s inside swivel pass and beat four defenders as he danced down the sideline.

Luke Campbell, Ruben Love, Ardie Savea, and Xavier Numia were all left flailing on the floor as the 22-year-old raced away to put the Brumbies ahead.

Lolesio missed the wide conversion attempt, but the hosts led 12-10.

The Hurricanes went close on the hour; however, more stubborn defence saw the Brumbies push the driving maul into touch.

More players fell to the deck as the brutal nature of the game took its toll.

One, however, felt some of the players needed a rest such was the ferocity of the hits and the intense nature of a close contest littered with bone-crunching tackles.

An emotional denouement to a thrilling match ends in stunning circumstances

Fidow’s sublime solo run to score was chalked off, with seven minutes remaining, for a dubious knock-on call against Ardie Savea.

Savea looked to have trapped Rayasi’s pass, but Paul Williams overturned his call after TMO James Leckie saw differently.

The game continued to deliver drama. With less than three to play, the Canes were awarded a long-range penalty on the halfway line.

Barrett stepped up. The usually solid distance kicker pulled his penalty well wide, but there was another twist in the tale.

The resulting 22-drop-out was charged down, which led to another penalty for the visitors, this time from near the lefthand touchline.

Up stepped Barrett again, and yet again, the 24-year-old fullback missed: he could not believe it, nobody could.

Cue joyous scenes by both Australian players and fans.

Final Score: Brumbies 12 (7) Hurricanes 10 (10)

Scorers

Brumbies
Tries – R. Lonergan, Ikitau
Pen –
Con – Lolesio
Drop –
Cards –

Hurricanes
Tries – Coles
Pen – J. Barrett
Con – J. Barrett
Drop –
Cards – Kirifi (Yellow, 24′)

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Reuben Keane
Assistant Ref 2: James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie

Teams

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Bayley Kuenzle, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Luke Reimer, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio

Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Nic White, 22 Irae Simone 23 Tom Wright

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Xavier Numia

Replacements:
 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Gareth Evans, 22 Cam Roigard, 23 Wes Goosen

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