Brumbies stun Hurricanes in Canberra thriller

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Brumbies have snapped a 13-game losing streak against Kiwi opposition with a brilliant 24-12 win over the Hurricanes.

The home side caused constant concern for the heavy favourites when they had ball in hand, led by some sharp work from Joe Powell around the breakdown and several slicing runs from Tom Banks.

That pair, along with fellow Wallabies squad member Folau Faingaa, were clearly craving some football having not featured in June - as all three were influential in a match in which the Brumbies went toe-to-toe with the Canes in every facet of play.

They ran the ball from all parts, tweaked their attack when it became apparent the visitors were insisting with frenetic line speed and were duly rewarded with overlaps they managed to expose.

The second half scrummaging was immense, lineout on point and defensive work stout enough to force errors the Hurricanes do not typically make.

The only sore point was an apparent shoulder injury to Wallabies prop Scott Sio in the 15th minute.Isi Naisarani starred once again for ACT. Photo: Getty ImagesIt was an otherwise superb performance - easily their best of the season - reward for sticking to the attack first philosophy which Dan McKellar has implemented this year.

It was one of the aforementioned overlaps - created by some smart passing from Powell, Christian Lealiifano and David Pocock - which set up Kyle Godwin for the home side's first five pointer.

Godwin's try was a swift response to an unbelievable Superman style intercept from TJ Perenara which stunned the hosts into action, Julian Savea trucking over the top of Powell after a spearing Jordie Barrett cutout for the visitors' second.

While the Canes did make light work of the Brumbies when they did have ball in hand the home side were unlucky to take a 12-5 deficit into the sheds - Isi Naisarani knocking a ball on over the line which would have been just rewards for a lively patch of play prior to the break.

The reward ACT craved came through a Folau Faingaa try when play resumed, Ben Lam dropping the kickoff to hand the home side prime field position.

A tireless Tom Cusack pilfer in the 52nd minute then claimed the field position from which Rory Arnold stretched out, scored and earned the home side their first lead of the night.

A six-one penalty count then resulted in a stint in the sin bin for Blade Thomson after a tackle on Rory Arnold slipped up above the shoulder, though the Brumbies were unable to capitalise on the one-man advantage.

Kyle Godwin crossed for an early five pointer and nearly nabbed a double. Photo: Getty ImagesA grandstand finish ensued instead, some desperate defence from Tevita Kuridrani - who played like a man desperate to regain his spot in the Wallabies 23 - keeping the Canes pinned in their half when they needed field position most.

Godwin nearly had a double when he split the visitors up the middle with a perfectly placed counterattacking burst, only to regain his own well placed chip kick and knock the ball on over the line.

The visitors forced a penalty from the scrum that followed and a quick Perenara tap put Savea away again, a Pocock turnover then sending the Brumbies back the other way.

Lealiifano split the line and found Kuridran before Lucas received a well placed pop pass, Muirhead screaming away with a perfectly timed pass from the reserve halfback only to be denied the match winner by a remarkable tackle over the line by Barrett.

But from the scrum that followed Lealiifano threw a looping cutout to Muirhead and he went over for the sealer after all.

ACT's slim finals hopes are still alive, having kept the Canes to their lowest total score in three seasons.

RESULT

Brumbies 24

Tries: Godwin, Faingaa, Arnold, Muirhead

Cons: Lealiifano, Lucas

Pens:

Hurricanes 12

Tries: Perenara, Savea

Cons: J Barrett

Pens: