Super Hurricanes blow Brumbies away

Date published: June 27 2015

The Hurricanes progressed to their first Super Rugby Final since 2006 after beating the Brumbies 29-9 in Saturday's semi-final in Wellington. 

The 'Canes will now host the winner of the second semi-final between the Waratahs and Highlanders in next weekend's final at Westpac Stadium and they deserve nothing less having been the standout team of the tournament this year.

The Hurricanes led 12-3 at the interval thanks to tries from wing Julian Savea and scrum-half TJ Perenara, who moved level with Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo as the season's top try scorer.

Flanker Ardie Savea followed his brother's example by crossing early in the second period before replacement back Matt Proctor added the fourth unanswered try in the closing stages.

The Brumbies hardly had a sniff of the ball in a high-paced first-half and could have considered themselves lucky to not be trailing by a lot more.

The Hurricanes' ruthless counter-attacking ability, a hallmark of their brilliant season, was once again on display with All Black-in-waiting Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma'a Nonu leading the charge.

The 'Canes pack was also on top to ensure their deadly backs had quality possession from the breakdown and line-outs.

The Brumbies briefly got some momentum in the middle of the second-half but they never realistically looked like threatening to cause an upset as their hosts dominated in almost every facet.

The Brumbies did a sterling job on defence to keep the scores will locked at 0-0 at the end of the first quarter in the face of numerous attacks from the home side, but the damn wall couldn't hold forever.

Eventually it took the power of Julian Savea to produce the first try as he bumped off Nic White to go over in the corner following Nonu's quick hands to get it wide.

Having struck the post with an earlier penalty, Beauden Barrett sent his conversion effort wide and the fly-half was a touch lucky to escape more serious punishment than a penalty for some overzealous use of his boot on Rory Arnold's back as the Brumbies lock lay on the wrong side of a ruck with the 'Canes pushing for another try.

The TMO couldn't find evidence of Reggie Goodes getting the ball down in that incident but the hosts' second try wasn't long in coming as Milner-Skudder drew three defenders out wide before James Marshall provided the link for Perenara to scamper home on the counter attack.

This time Barrett did hit the target to put the 'Canes 12-0 up approaching the half-hour mark.

With Christian Lealiifano in the blood bin, it was left to Jesse Mogg to open the Brumbies account with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The writing was on the wall as Ardie Savea crashed over at the back of a maul early in the second-half, with Marshall's conversion stretching the lead to 16 points.

Mogg fluffed a chance to score as he knocked on with the try-line begging and the Brumbies pack grafted hard to allow Lealiifano to slot two penalties to drag the visitors back into contention.

But the men in yellow quickly took control of the game back with a penalty from Marshall keeping the Brumbies at arm's length before a break from Nonu set up the opportunity for Proctor to charge over.

Marshall's second conversion meant the home side had a 20-point gap in the dying minutes, which was a fair reflection of their dominance in another impressive display.

A maiden Super Rugby title beckons.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: J. Savea, Perenara, A. Savea, Proctor
Cons: Barrett, Marshall 2
Pen: Marshall

For Brumbies:
Pens: Mogg, Lealiifano 2

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 Matt Proctor.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Lausii Taliauli, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano,9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Nigel Ah Wong, 23 Robbie Coleman.

Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock, Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen