Brumbies gallop home over Hurricanes
Sportal.co.nz 18 May 2012 Getty Images
It was an impressive starting debut from rookie first five-eighth Zach Holmes who scored a try, kicked three penalties and converted five-pointers to Fotu Auelua, Sam Carter and Michael Hooper for a 22-point haul.
The Hurricanes had looked to have the game under control when substitute prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen crossed for the team's bonus-point try in the 52nd minute after an earlier double to livewire halfback TJ Perenara and another try to Victor Vito.
But a poor night with the boot for Andre Taylor and substitute Beauden Barrett, which saw 11 points go begging, and the Brumbies' resurgence in the second half left the home side with just a solitary bonus point to show for their efforts.
They also have concerns about winger Cory Jane who limped off with an ankle injury midway through the first half.
The Brumbies raced out to a 10-0 lead inside the opening nine minutes thanks to a try to Wellington-born Auelua and a penalty and conversion from Holmes.
The move began when Nic White, who was on as a blood replacement for Ian Prior, stripped the ball off Brad Shields and set Joe Tomane away down the left flank.
It ended with Auelua burrowing over under the posts following a smart short line-out play between hooker Stephen Moore and lock Carter.
But in typical fashion the Hurricanes battled their way back into the game with two tries of their own.
First Perenara darted over in the 16th minute after a strong drive from a lineout close to the Brumbies line before Holmes and Taylor traded penalties before Jane limped off and Barrett moved into fullback.
For the second week running Jason Eaton - hanging out on the wing - put his foot in touch with the Hurricanes hot on attack. This time it was spotted and the big lock's scoring attempt in the corner was denied.
But the home side did not have to wait long as a well-worked set move off the back of a solid scrum when the Brumbies knocked on at the lineout saw No.8 Vito dot down under the posts and Taylor's conversion put the Hurricanes in front for the first time in the match.
Another piece of individual brilliance from Perenara - after a trademark surge from winger Julian Savea - gave the halfback his seventh try of the season.
From the base of a ruck the 20-year-old got round Brumbies openside flanker Michael Hooper then stepped Henry Speight to dive over for his second of the night.
Taylor couldn't add the conversion and another three-pointer for Holmes got the visitors back to within four points.
Toomaga-Allen was introduced for Ben May in the 50th minute and two minutes later the young tighthead prop was celebrating his maiden Super Rugby try after he burrowed over from close range.
But the Brumbies responded immediately with a try for Carter after fellow second-rower Scott Fardy had charged clean through a gap between Toomaga-Allen and Tim Bateman. Holmes' conversion left the Brumbies just two points adrift.
A bad mistake by Barrett, who kicked the ball out on the full deep from in his own 22, then gifted the visitors excellent field position and they took full advantage.
Although replacement halfback Nic White knocked on with the line begging, when the ball squirted out of the Hurricanes scrum five metres from the line it was eventually forced over the line by Hooper.
Holmes then rounded off an excellent night with a try of his own in the 69th minute.
Scorers: Hurricanes 25 (TJ Perenara 2, Victor Vito, Jeff Toomaga-Allen; Andre Taylor con, pen) Brumbies 37 (Fotu Auelua, Sam Carter, Michael Hooper, Zach Holmes tries; Holmes 4 con, 3 pen). HT: 15-13
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