SPORTS

Canes Outsmart Brumbies

History now beckons for coach Chris Boyd’s boys after a 29-9 win last night over the Brumbies earned the 33,460-strong Westpac Stadium crowd a repeat showing in Wellington next Saturday
28 Jun 2015 09:28
Canes Outsmart Brumbies
Referee Glen Jackson awards a try to Hurricanes’ openside flanker Ardie Savea in the Super Rugby semifinal last night against Brumbies. Hurricanes won 29-9. Photo: Stuff

History now beckons for coach Chris Boyd’s boys after a 29-9 win last night over the Brumbies earned the 33,460-strong Westpac Stadium crowd a repeat showing in Wellington next Saturday against either the Waratahs or Highlanders.

A minor injury to wing Nehe Milner-Skudder aside, Super Rugby’s pace setters have every reason to be optimistic regardless of their opponent.

Boyd and his coaching staff masterminded a game plan that saw the Brumbies stuck in their stall for most of the semifinal, their most potent weapons denied them throughout.

Fired by the memory of Jerry Collins and determined not to disappoint their first 30,000-plus crowd since the 2006 semifinal, the Hurricanes players delivered a performance their late teammate would have been proud of.

Few were better than the old form of Ma’a Nonu and skipper Conrad Smith and young openside Ardie Savea, who was part back, part forward in his 50 minutes, all seemed to be everywhere in defence and attack.

It seemed fitting they were key to the Hurricanes final try, some Smith hands and a Nonu surge ending with replacement wing Matt Proctor crashing over out wide for a 29-9 lead they’d hold to full time.

Westpac Stadium’s conspicuous yellow seats were replaced by a sea of yellow scarves, flags and jerseys.

They were treated to an all action first-half that saw tries to wing Julian Savea and halfback TJ Perenara lay the platform for the win.

The execution wasn’t perfect, but the tactics were as the Hurricanes took away the Brumbies vaunted kicking game and sapped their weary legs in the first half by keeping the ball in hand.

Beauden Barrett directed play by firing the ball to his eager runners and players like loose forwards Victor Vito and Brad Shields, lock James Broadhurst and hooker Dane Coles rolled their sleeves up and tore into their work.

Even when silky fullback Marshall took a defensive mark in his 22 he tapped and headed for space, the 90 metre counter attack nearly resulting in a try to Reggie Goodes.

The TMO took an eternity to rule it out before penalising Beauden Barrett for rucking.

You could hear Colin Meads grunt his disapproval from the King Country.

But Pinetree would have been enjoying the Hurricanes performance.

It was as exciting as it was tactically astute, the only asterisk the fact they had only two tries to show for their efforts at halftime.

Savea steam rolled over Brumbies halfback Nic White after 20 minutes, then Perenara finished one a breathtaking long range try.

Milner-Skudder was often the spark behind the Hurricanes attack and when Marshall’s quick hands set him free down the touch line the Brumbies couldn’t stop Perenara, as he has all season, trailing in support for his 11th try of 2015 and a 12-0 lead on the half hour mark.

If the Brumbies were feeling embattled at the break, they would have felt awful after the restart when the Hurricanes forwards drove Ardie Savea drove over from a lineout and a 19-3 lead.

The visitor’s had not only had one of their own strengths taken away, but perhaps their greatest one thrown back in their face as the Jeremy Thrush run Hurricanes lineout found its mojo again.

First five Christian Lealiifano added two second half penalties to Jesse Mogg’s kick on the stroke of halftime, but after travelling back from South Africa the Brumbies didn’t seem to have anything left in the tank.

The Hurricanes did. When Ardie Savea limped off after 50 minutes the visitor’s would have groaned at the sight of Blade Thomson bouncing onto the park.

The Brumbies had played in eight semifinals, and won six, but on this night they were overcome by a yellow and black wave.

Hurricanes 29 (Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea, Matt Proctor tries, Beauden Barrett con, James Marshall 2 con, pen) Brumbies 9 (Jesse Mogg Pen, Christian Lealiifano 2 pen). HT: 12-3.

 



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