An irresistible display of effervescent rugby in the second half saw the Hurricanes claim a bonus-point win over the Brumbies at Central Energy Trust Arena with All Blacks centre Ngani Laumape claiming a hat-trick of tries in the 43-13 victory.
The Brumbies were unable to cope with a fired-up ‘Canes who struck at decisive moments in the second half to build a lead that the Australians were unable to bridge despite a spirited finale.
It was the home side that had the Palmerston North crowd on their feet after twelve minutes as they broke the deadlock with the first try of the contest. It was an opportunistic effort as well, as hooker Dane Coles claimed a David Pocock pop pass that was inadvertently deflected into his path to storm away for a try which Beauden Barrett converted.
The second Hurricanes try minutes later was a thing of beauty. Turnover ball is dangerous in most hands bit when it falls to the prolific Vince Aso, it spells trouble. His offload was outstanding and Laumape had too much acceleration and burst clear to increase the advantage. Barrett was dead-eyed from the tee once more as the lead moved to 14-0.
Needing a route back into the match the Brumbies reverted to their trademark weapon. After the hosts were penalised for a late shot by Coles, Irae Simone kicked to the corner and the rolling maul clicked into gear, driving Folau Fainga’a over the line, the hooker’s third try in successive matches in 2019.
A typically robust Pocock turnover allowed Christian Lealiifano to reduce the arrears further still from a penalty in front of the posts, but it was the Hurricanes who were to have the last laugh of the opening forty minutes.
It was a try made by some silky All-Black skills as Laumape and scrum half TJ Perenara combined to create a slither of space for Coles and the hooker finished like a winger with a balletic dive to touchdown in the corner.
There was a change of match official at half-time, as referee Nick Briant was replaced by Federico Anselmi, and the newcomers first call of duty was to award the Hurricanes a penalty which with Barrett bisected the uprights to make the score 22-8.
The Brumbies made a trio of changes in the 51st minute, introducing prop James Slipper, flanker Tom Cusack and scrumhalf Matt Lucas into the fray, but it was the Hurricanes who kept advancing, and a flat-pass from Perenara allowed Laumape to cut inside the covering defence to cross for his second of the match.
Laumape celebrated a hat-trick on the hour as the centre intercepted a wayward pass to sprint away under the posts with Barrett’s conversion taking the Hurricanes 36-8 ahead, before Pocock was harshly sin-binned by the substitute referee for an early tackle.
After the Hurricanes monopolised possession for most of the second half, the Brumbies finally got some ball ten minutes from time and Lucas and Wharenui Hawera combined with Tevita Kuridrani to free replacement Tom Wright who showed his speed, racing away to score his first Super Rugby try.
The final word went to the Hurricanes though when lock James Blackwell pounced on a loose pass, as the Brumbies tried to keep the ball alive after the siren, to canter over for the Hurricanes sixth try.
Hurricanes (19) 43 (T: Coles (2), Laumape (3), Blackwell, C: B. Barrett (4), J. Garden-Bachop, P: B. Barrett)
Plus500 Brumbies (8) 13 (T: Fainga’a, Wright, P: Lealiifano)
Scott SIO (17. James SLIPPER 51’), 2. Folau FAINGA’A (16. Josh MANN-REA 56’), 3. Allan ALAALATOA (18. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN 62’), 4. Rory ARNOLD (19. Darcy SWAIN 62’), 5. Blake ENEVER, 6. Pete SAMU (20. Tom CUSACK 51’), 7. David POCOCK, 8. Lachlan MCCAFFREY, 9. Joe POWELL (21. Matt LUCAS 51’), 10. Christian LEALIIFANO (22. Wharenui HAWERA 62’), 11. Chance PENI, 12. Irae SIMONE, 13. Tevita KURIDRANI, 14. Andrew MUIRHEAD, 15. Tom BANKS (23. Tom WRIGHT 70’)
YELLOW CARD: 7. David POCOCK 63’