Hurricanes become second NZ Super side to fall to Aussies
The Brumbies have held on to claim a gutsy 12-10 victory over the Hurricanes in Canberra, but only after All Blacks star Jordie Barrett missed two potentially game-winning penalty kicks in the final two minutes.
Tom Cusack was penalised for offside in the 78th minute gifting the long-kicking Barrett an opportunity to win the game off his boot from 50m out, but his kick drifted left.
From the 22 metre drop out, Nic White had his dropkick charged down before Harrison Lloyd was penalised with seven seconds left on the clock.
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Gifted another opportunity to keep the Hurricanes’ unbeaten Trans Tasman title quest on track, Barrett pushed the kick to the right sealing the end of the contest.
The outcome handed the Hurricanes their first loss of the competition, leaving fellow Kiwi outfits the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders as the only unbeaten teams as they chase the two spots in the one-off final with one round to play.
In the Brumbies first home game in six weeks, the Canberra men were sluggish from the outset in a bruising and battering match played prediminantly in the middle of the park – the set-piece being the platform for attacking opportunities.
But it was the visitors who led 10-7 going into the halftime break, and while managing less handling errors on the night, they were unable to capitalise in the dying stages.
However, they almost stole victory before Barrett’s missed kicks, when Alex Fidow streaked through a hole and crossed in the 73rd minute.
However the TMO called referee Paul Williams back to review the lead up, with Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea judged to marginally knock the ball on, and the try was overturned.
Sustained pressure from the Brumbies was their strength throughout the match, and scrumhalf Nic White’s injection in the second half was the game-changer.
White shaped to kick with a penalty advantage in the 52nd minute, before slipping a pass inside to centre Len Ikitau who briefly lost his feet 10 metres out before gathering and diving over to score.
The scrumhalf brought a calming aspect to their attack that struggled throughout the game with a plethora of basic handling errors.
In the first half, the Brumbies hit the front when starting scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan went over for a try from short range.
It didnt take long for the Hurricanes to hit back however, after veteran Dane Coles was the try beneficiary from a five-metre lineout maul.
The hooker, back in the starting side this week, broke off to the right to crash through two defenders.
Shortly before the halftime siren, Barrett looked inclined to go for touch just with his side pursuing a bonus point victory to go top of the table, but skipper Savea opted for the three points.
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