Brumbies vs Hurricanes: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies' season was ended by the Hurricanes in Canberra.

What are we talking about after the quarter-final clash?

1. Christian’s comeback makes finals night extra special

No matter what happened on the scoreboard at Canberra Stadium, the story was always going to be in some part about Christian Lealiifano. The Brumbies’ inspirational co-captain replaced James Dargaville after half-time, in his first Super Rugby match since being diagnosed with leukaemia just shy of a year ago.  Be hard to surpass that as moment of the Super Rugby season.

2. Hurricanes on track for back-to-back

The Hurricanes will progress to the semi-finals. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Hurricanes spoiled the Brumbies’ special night with their strong second half and now they’re on a collision course with the side they bested in last year’s final. The Lions and the Sharks play overnight and the winner of that will meet the defending champions. Only a week ago the South African heavyweights bested the Sharks and they’re heavily favoured to do that again. Should that happen it’ll be a Johannesburg showdown between two of the best sides in the comp.

3. Luckiest try of all time? 

The Brumbies held a one-point lead at half-time in Canberra and would’ve held a bigger advantage had it not been for the flukiest of tries from the Hurricanes. TJ Perenara passed the ball flush into the head of prop Ben May, with the deflection going forward but into open space for Jordie Barrett to pounce on. If we were cynical, we’d think it might almost have been a ploy from the visitors, but either way, it was lucky for the Hurricanes and something you won’t see too often.

4. Brumbies forwards proving his big-game credentials 

They already dominate the Test pack and the Brumbies showed why, with impressive performances up front. Allan Alaalatoa continues to go from strength to strength as a tighthead and again was one of the standouts in the sudden-death final. Rory Arnold will have done his reputation no harm after a sensational showing against the Hurricanes. Was pivotal in stopping a potential Hurricanes’ maul try and threw his body on the line.

5. Another 80-minute Kiwi performance ends Aussie finals hopes

The Brumbies had the edge going into half-time but Friday’s final was another case of a New Zealand side coming over the top of their Australian counterparts. Though the Brumbies defended their guts out, ultimately they gave away too many chances in the second 40 and the rest will be history. Veteran prop Ben Alexander admitted it was a bit of deja vu in that sense, speaking post-match, and it’s hard to disagree.