The ACT Brumbies shook off a sluggish start to defeat the Wellington Hurricanes 29-21 yesterday, showing glimpses of the form that took them to last year’s Super 15 final.
The Australians were behind 13-3 after 35 minutes, but unleashed a try-scoring blitz to claim 19 points either side of halftime to leave the shellshocked Hurricanes winless after three matches.
The Brumbies secured a bonus point after finishing the game four tries to two, showing no ill effects after this week losing Wallabies flanker David Pocock for the season, with Jarred Butler proving an able replacement.
Skipper Ben Mowen praised his team for bouncing back after going down to a T.J. Perenara try after a sustained period of early pressure from the Hurricanes.
“The boys worked really hard, as a group we couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect by any means, but to come over here and get a win like that is really important, we know it’s a tough place to win.”
Fullback Jesse Mogg masterminded the Brumbies comeback, scoring the first try when he cut through defense off the back of a strong scrum without a Hurricanes player laying a hand on him.
A few minutes later, his sideline break led to Matt Toomua sending a looping, long-distance pass that set up winger Robbie Coleman for the second.
Tevita Kuridrani bustled over the line for a third just after the break as the Hurricanes squandered their early promise with a series of handling errors and defensive lapses.
Locky McCaffrey finished off the New Zealanders with a fourth in the final stages, although Hurricanes No. 8 Blade Thomson gave them some consolation when he scored with two minutes to go.
Skipper Conrad Smith said the Hurricanes were convinced their approach was right, but they were yet to click on the field in a season that has so far yielded three defeats.
“Sometimes you try too hard, we’re better than we showed out there,” he said.
“They were very good defensively and frustrated us, but we’ve got to get used to that because teams are going to be trying to do that to us all year,” Smith added.