ACT Super Rugby franchise the Brumbies sent a warning to the rest of the field by hammering last year’s finalists the Hurricanes 52-10 in Canberra.
The Brumbies became the first team to win a try bonus point under the new rules as they outscored the Hurricanes by seven tries to one. Under the new rules a bonus point is awarded for scoring three more tries than the opposition.
The victory is the third in a row against the Hurricanes who have now not beaten the Canberra side since 2010 and the most tries the Brumbies have ever scored in their season opener.
So rampant were the Brumbies that they scored two tries while they were down to 14 players when Matt Toomua was in the sin bin in the second half.
Two time Super Rugby winners the Brumbies were always in the lead during the match and had a 21 point lead at half time.
In the second half they romped away to the first bonus point victory of the season against a Hurricanes side that was inept compared to how they played last year.
The Brumbies looked much sharper and their fast-moving defence constantly had the Hurricanes under pressure, while their signature driving maul netted another two tries.
Fly-half Christian Leali’ifano finished with 17 points from seven conversions and a penalty goal from nine shots at goal.
Brumbies captain Stephen Moore and Argentina Pumas scrum-half Tomas Cubelli were in fine form and picked up a try each.
Moore, who is returning to his home state to play with the Queensland Reds next season, was outstanding and scored a powerful try off a rolling maul, while Cubelli caught the eye with his first match for the Brumbies with his passing and running with the ball.
The Brumbies, who were criticised for their unadventurous attack last season, looked inventive and scored a smart try to David Pocock off a quick lineout throw.
It took the Hurricanes 48 minutes to score their only try of the match through centre Ngani Lauampe off a slashing counter-attacking run from fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Final Score Brumbies 52 (24) Hurricanes 10 (3)
Tries -T. Kuridrani, T.Cubelli, D.Pocock, S.Fardy, S.Moore, J.Mann-Rea, S.Carter
Pen – C.Lealiifano
Con – C.Lealiifano 7
Cards – M.Toomua (62nd minute yellow), D.Pocock (76th min yellow)
Tries – N.Laumape
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 1:Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Ref 2:Michael Hogan
TMO :Damien Mitchelmore
Allan Alaalatoa , Stephen Moore (c) , Ben Alexander , Rory Arnold , Sam Carter , Scott Fardy , David Pocock , Ita Vaea , Tomás Cubelli , Christian Lealiifano , Joe Tomane , Matt Toomua , Tevita Kuridrani , Henry Speight , Aidan Toua
Replacements : Josh Mann-Rea , Scott Sio , Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin , Jordan Smiler , Jarrad Butler , Michael Dowsett , Andrew Smith , Nigel Ah Wong
15. Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Vince Aso, 12. Ngani Laumape, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito, 7. Ardie Savea, 6. Brad Shields, 5. Mark Abbott, 4. Blade Thomson, 3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles (c), 1. Reggie Goodes.
Replacements : Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Willis Halaholo.