Barrett misses twice to gift Brumbies their first win
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN REPORT: The Brumbies were gifted their first win of the competition, as Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett missed two kicks in the closing minutes.
The Brumbies recorded only the second win by an Australian team in 19 matches, as they outscored their rivals by two tries to one for a thrilling 12-10 triumph.
However, the headline of this match will centre on those missed kicks by the All Black, Barrett.
As a result, the Hurricanes – who could have moved to the top of the table – are now relying on other results to go their way if they are to qualify for the Final.
The Blues, who host the lowly Western Force next week, are sitting pretty at the top with 19 points.
They are followed by the Highlanders (18 points), who travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies, the Crusaders (18), who will play the Rebels in Sydney, and the Hurricanes (16), who have a tricky home game against the Reds.
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Tom Cusack was penalised for offside in the 78th minute gifting the long-kicking Barrett an opportunity to win the game off his boot from 50 metres out, but his kick drifted left.
From the 22 metre drop-out, Nic White had his dropkick charged down, before Harrison Lloyd was penalised with seven seconds left on the clock.
Gifted another opportunity to keep the Hurricanes’ unbeaten Trans-Tasman title quest on track, Barrett pushed the kick to the right sealing the end of the contest.
In the Brumbies first home game in six weeks, the Canberra men were sluggish from the outset in a bruising and battering match played predominantly in the middle of the park – the set-piece being the platform for attacking opportunities.
But it was the visitors who led 10-7 going into the half-time break, and while managing less handling errors on the night, they were unable to capitalise in the dying stages.
They almost stole victory before Barrett’s missed kicks, when Alex Fidow streaked through a hole and crossed in the 73rd minute.
However, the TMO called referee Paul Williams back to review the lead up, with Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea judged to marginally knock the ball on, and the try was overturned.
Sustained pressure from the Brumbies was their strength throughout the match, and scrumhalf Nic White’s injection in the second half was the game-changer.
White shaped to kick with a penalty advantage in the 52nd minute, before slipping a pass inside to centre Len Ikitau who briefly lost his feet 10 metres out before gathering and diving over to score.
The scrumhalf brought a calming aspect to their attack that struggled throughout the game with a plethora of basic handling errors.
In the first half, the Brumbies hit the front when starting scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan went over for a try from short range.
It didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to hit back however, after veteran Dane Coles was the try beneficiary from a five-metre line-out maul.
The hooker, back in the starting side this week, broke off to the right to crash through two defenders.
Shortly before the halftime siren, Barrett looked inclined to go for touch just with his side pursuing a bonus point victory to go top of the table, but skipper Savea opted for the three points.
Tries: R Lonergan, Ikitau
For the Hurricanes
Yellow card: Du’Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes, 24 – foul play, high tackle)
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Bayley Kuenzle, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Luke Reimer, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Nic White, 22 Irae Simone 23 Tom Wright
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Gareth Evans, 22 Cam Roigard, 23 Wes Goosen.
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Reuben Keane, James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie