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Brumbies bounce back dramatically to hand Hurricanes first loss of season

By Ned Lester
Noah Lolesio of the Brumbies scores in the corner. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

It was a hungry Brumbies outfit that greeted the undefeated Hurricanes in Canberra, clearly out with a point to prove after a record loss to the Blues in their last outing.

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Tamati Tua was awarded Man of the Match for his barnstorming performance but there were no shortage of superb outings for the hosts who subjected the Hurricanes to their first loss of the season.

Having dominated the collision area throughout the season, the Hurricanes found themselves back-pedalling on their opening defensive stand of the game.

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The front foot ball for the Brumbies was capitalised on when they were awarded a penalty and opted for a lineout drive, which the Hurricanes managed to defuse after a mammoth wrestle. The defensive effort had drawn in enough players though for Noah Lolesio to be unmarked on the wing and one pass was all that was needed for the playmaker to score the opening points of the game.

The Hurricanes wouldn’t entertain anything other than a strong territory advantage after that opening try, quickly pressing into the Brumbies’ 22 and launching multiple driving maul attempts until a fumbled delivery from TJ Perenara caught the defence off guard and allowed Xavier Numia to find the ball and dive over the line.

The scoreboard would continue to tick over moments later when Tamati Tua looked up and saw a hooker and a lock in front of him, accelerating through the minuscule gap and shrugging the defenders before burning TJ Perenara to score the third try of the game in the 15th minute.

Tua was making metres again shortly after play resumed, pushing play back into the Hurricanes’ half off the restart.

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That field position allowed the Brumbies to maintain their ambition and the hosts continued to win the collision area, making metres and recycling the ball swiftly, all putting immense pressure on the Hurricanes’ defence.

That pressure resulted in another break and another try, this time to Ollie Sapsford. The winger found space on the outside as if the Brumbies were playing with a one-man advantage, with the Brumbies finding plenty of reward against an uncharacteristically shaky Hurricanes defence.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when hooker James O’Reilly went down with a head knock, making way for young Raymond Tuputupu and causing further concern after the team’s premier hooker, Asafo Aumua, went down with an MCL injury last weekend.

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Charlie Cale made a nuisance of himself defending the Hurricanes’ lineout but the 21-year-old hooker found his target the second time around and the Wellingtonians drove closer and closer to the line with every phase. Xavier Numia again popped up at the right place and right time, opportunistically diving over the line through a gap beside the ruck.

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The Brumbies had managed to avoid the wrath of the Hurricanes’ scrum until the 35th minute, getting the ball out to Cale swiftly to keep play moving. But, it was a massive task for Allan Alaalatoa in his return from injury to fight the power of Xavier Numia, and the young gun eventually got the better of the veteran Wallaby to earn a penalty and win more strong field position for his team.

The back and forth continued and while both teams continued to prove dangerous, the score would remain 24-12 at halftime.

An offside penalty handed the Brumbies a chance to keep the scoreboard rolling to start the second half, with Noah Lolesio obliging with the three points.

A mercurial run from Ruben Love on a kick return ignited the Hurricanes’ counter-attack just a minute later, with the ball then finding Salesi Rayasi who hit the line with pace and delivered a determined offload which allowed his team to realize the overlap created and put Jordie Barrett over the line untouched.

Alaalatoa was replaced at halftime but the Hurricanes’ scrum dominance continued. Meanwhile, Tom Wright was igniting play with pirouettes and pace before his opposite Ruben Love re-entered the action and caused some havoc of his own.

The scores remained locked at 27-19 as the two sides went at it, exchanging blows and defusing attacking threats.

The pressure the Brumbies continued to apply forced the Hurricanes into some errors that hadn’t been seen much so far in 2024, and killed momentum before the ‘Canes could capitalize on it.

The scrum was far less dominant once the reserve unit took the field for the Hurricanes and the Brumbies made huge plays at lineout time, securing the win with another steal late. Final score: 27-19.

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Comments

4 Comments
J
Jasyn 87 days ago

Unfortunately when you lose by far the two form players this season in Roigard and Aumua, you're left replacing two game changing Tanks with a couple of pea-shooters.

Which is also about the speed of TJs pass.

A
Andrew 88 days ago

Tamati Tua. …the Taniwha NPC midfielder. Ollie Sapsford, Hawkes Bay NPC midfielder…doing well

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