Brumbies beat top-ranked Hurricanes in Super boilover

Alex Mitchell |

Noah Lolesio scores a try for the Brumbies in their win over the Hurricanes in Canberra.
Noah Lolesio scores a try for the Brumbies in their win over the Hurricanes in Canberra.

The ACT Brumbies have breathed new life into their Super Rugby Pacific title charge, knocking off the league-leading Hurricanes 27-19 at GIO Stadium.

Power-running and a clinical display from their forward pack helped the Brumbies sprint away to an early 24-5 lead they would never relinquish, handing the visitors their first loss of the season.

It was the Brumbies’ first win of the season against a top-four side, having fallen short against the Chiefs and the Blues.

ACT coach Stephen Larkham said his troops turned up to training this week ready to make amends for their embarrassing 46-7 defeat to the Blues in New Zealand.

He challenged them to continue those standards for the lower-profile fixtures on the run-in to finals.

“Every team in this competition is dangerous on their day, and if you look at the start of the season, we’ve (played) some teams that weren’t quite at their top,” Larkham said.

“(The Hurricanes) are on top of the ladder, but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily any better than any other team we’re coming up against over the next couple of games.

“We had a really good training week, the guys challenged themselves within the group to the highest standards, and we saw a lot of improvement.

“It’s pleasing really for the players to know they can train like that and it leads to a performance like that.”

Tamati Tua
Tamati Tua scores a try for the Brumbies in their win over the Hurricanes in Canberra. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Intent on responding to last weekend’s embarrassing 46-7 defeat to the Blues in New Zealand, the Brumbies produced their match-winning lead via the best 20 minutes of their campaign to date.

A perfect cut-out pass from Ryan Lonergan got Lolesio the opening points in the corner, and even a quick response from Hurricanes prop Xavier Numia didn’t knock their confidence.

Content with powering the ball up the middle of the park via their bruising carriers, centre Tamati Tua burst through the line to score, before winger Ollie Sapsford capped a beautifully worked team move for 21-5.

Numia’s second try kept the Hurricanes within 12 points at halftime, and Jordie Barrett scored the only try of the second period before the ACT defence suffocated the game.

Xavier Numia
Hurricanes teammates congratulate Xavier Numia on one of his tries against the ACT Brumbies. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Tua was close to best-on-ground, churning out 100m-plus through a series of violent runs.

Returning Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa played 40 minutes in his first game since rupturing his achilles against the All Blacks in July.

But winger Corey Toole left the contest early with a foot injury he appeared to suffer in the first half, and star centre Len Ikitau was taken off after a head knock.

Bench prop Blake Schoupp joined them on the injured list, stretchered off late in the piece with a shoulder injury as his Brumbies fought to hold on to their lead.

Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw wasn’t panicking after his side’s first loss of the season, admitting they’d been well and truly jumped in the opening 20 minutes.

“(The loss) helps (the team) I reckon, I’m excited because it felt like a playoff game,” he said.

“The Brumbies are a quality side. If you want to win the competition, you’re gonna have to beat teams like the Brumbies.

“I’m really excited about what we can learn from this and what we take into the Waratahs game next week.”