The Brumbies made light work of the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby opener, claiming a 52-10 bonus-point win in Canberra on Friday.
It was a dominant display from the hosts that ensured an emphatic win that gives them a perfect start to the season, and they were full value for this victory, outscoring their visitors seven tries to one.
Both sides headed in to this clash amongst the favourites to win the title but the Hurricanes, who finished last year as runners-up, didn’t look like the side which lit up the tournament in 2015.
While they stayed true to their attacking roots, they found little opportunities to showcase their skills as they were blown away by the intensity of the home side’s onslaught.
The visitors opened the scoring via a Beauden Barrett penalty inside the opening five minutes and they had to wait until the 48th minute for their next points as the Brumbies took control of proceedings.
The hosts’ first try came 10 minutes after that penalty by Barrett – Tevita Kuridrani showing a great leg drive and strength as he powered his way through two tackles close to the Hurricanes try line – after Christian Lealiifano had drawn his side level, from the kicking tee in the 10th minute.
The Brumbies’ dominance continued and they finished the first half in style with two well-taken tries. First, debutant Tomás Cubelli barged over from close quarters in the 28th minute and ten minutes later David Pocock also dotted down after Stephen Moore and Ita Vaea caught the defence napping with a well-rehearsed lineout move inside the Hurricanes’ 22 in the build-up.
Lealiifano added the extras, which gave the home side a commanding 24-3 lead at the interval and they continued where they left off, shortly after the restart when Scott Fardy dotted down from a rolling maul.
The Hurricanes needed a moment of magic to get back into the game and Nehe Milner-Skudder provided just that. After fielding a ball deep inside his half, the All Black tore the home side’s defence to shreds with a trademark side-step before offloading to Ngani Laumape who outpaced the cover defence before crossing over in the left-hand corner.
Barrett added the extras but that was the visitors’ final points as the Brumbies continued to dominate. Moore added their fifth try, shortly afterwards, from an attacking line-out and despite losing Matt Toomua – who was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul on defence – continued to attack.
Two further tries from Josh Mann-Rea and Sam Carter sealed the comprehensive result, although the Brumbies finished the match with 14 men when Pocock was also sent to the sin bin close to full-time, not that it mattered. Stephen Larkham’s side had already made a real statement of intent.
Tries: Kuridrani, Cubelli, Pocock, Fardy, Moore, Mann-Rea, Carter
Cons: Lealiifano 7
Yellow Cards: Toomua, Pocock
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Allan Alaalatoa
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Willis Halaholo
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)