Brumbies hold out charging Canes
Fri, 31 May 2013 12:14
Attitude is defence
The Brumbies held on in the face of a ferocious late charge from the Hurricanes to stay well clear at the top end of the Australian Super Rugby Conference.
The 30-23 win in Canberra also saw them move into second place on the global standings, two points behind the table-topping Chiefs - who earned four points courtesy of their bye this week.
It was not pretty. In fact it is a perfect example of 'winning ugly'.
However, as Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said after the game: "We spoke about attitude and attitude is defence - that was really good defence."
And that was the key.
When the Hurricanes came charging in the final 10 minutes, the Brumbies tackled their hearts out and won through sheer dogged determination.
The Hurricanes' suspect set piece play cost them dearly in the first half. Apart from a few penalties at scrum time, the Brumbies' only try before the break came courtesy of sloppy line-out throw.
As for the Brumbies, they would have been bitterly disappointed with the number of times they coughed up the ball inside the Hurricanes 22 - especially Wallaby hopeful Jesse Mogg. Flyhalf Matt Toomua had a few shockers of his own, which cost his team on attack.
And then there were the restarts, an aspect of the game in which the Brumbies were simply clueless - handing the Hurricanes possession and momentum back almost every time.
The Brumbies took control early in the game - Christian Lealiifano making the visitors pay for their indiscipline with two penalty kicks. Hurricanes prop Ben May can regard himself fortunate that he was not carded after the second penalty, when he recklessly cleared out the support player at a line-out - which resulted in Ben Mowen requiring treatment after the transgression.
Beauden Barrett managed to pull three points back just after the 10-minute mark, as the game struggled to gain any real momentum.
Nic White got the first try, just at the end of the first quarter, when he collected an overthrow by Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles five metres from the visitors' line. Lealiifano couldn't add the extras, but at 11-3 the Brumbies had some breathing space.
That sparked the Hurricanes into a swift response - centre Reynold Lee-Lo going over, after sublime handling exposed a rushing Brumbies defence. Barrett added the conversion to make it a one-point game.
Just after the half-hour mark Ben Franks was penalised for 'scrumming in' and Lealiifano stretched the lead to 14-10 - which is how it stayed to the break.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen gave his team the early momentum they needed after the break, busting through a number of tackles and going over - even though the TMO ruled that he was held up over the line.
From the scrum they went right, where Tevita Kuridrani lost the ball over the line. However, they came back for a penalty - the Hurricanes caught offside - and Lealiifano slotting it to make it a seven-point game, 17-10.
Again the Hurricanes' response was swift, a mistake from the kick-off and then a couple of offside plays handing Barrett two shots at goal - 16-17.
In the 54th minute Ben May managed to hand the momentum back to the Brumbies with a silly penalty at the breakdown and then there was an offside play by Barrett in the 58th minute, allowing Lealiifano to make it 22-16.
The crucial score came just as the match moved into the final quarter, Peter Kimlin picking the ball up from the back of a ruck and diving over - but not before the Brumbies had worked their way close through a series of backline runners and some strong forward carries. Lealiifano made it 30-16.
The Hurricanes refused to concede defeat and came charging back hard, earning a couple of penalties, with TJ Perenara eventually getting the reward as he snipe from a scrum inside the 22. Barrett's conversion made it 23-30 going into the final 10 minutes.
The Brumbies, now under pressure, conceded a series of penalties and had to rely on their defence to hold out the fast-charging Hurricanes. This time the visitors butchered what appeared to be a certain try when they were blown for obstructive running just metres from the line.
The Brumbies managed to hang on, despite another sloppy line-out, to take a hard-earned win.
Man of the match: TJ Perenara showed his value behind the Hurricanes pack - not just on attack, but also in clearing the ball under pressure - while his try in the second half kept his team in the hunt when all seemed lost. Nic White's tactical kicking was very helpful for the Brumbies in the latter stages of the game. However, our award goes to Brumbies captain Ben Mowen, who did everything he could to get his team on the front foot, while some of his teammates' contributions were less than productive.
For the Brumbies:
Tries: White, Kimlin
Pens: Lealiifano 6
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Lee-Lo, Perenara
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: Barrett 3
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Clyde Rathbone.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain) 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 James Marshall.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
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