Saturday, 15 March 2008 The Hurricanes were convincing 33-15 winners over the Brumbies in their round five Rebel Sport Super 14 match at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. The Hurricanes outscored the Brumbies five tries to two amid a sparkling attacking performance and another tremendous all-round defensive effort to register their fourth consecutive Super 14 win in 2008, their first in Canberra since 2002's 20-13 win and to equal the highest winning margin (18 points) by any team against the Brumbies at their home ground.
Their second bonus point win of the season sees the Hurricanes firmly entrench themselves near the top of the points table ahead of their bye next weekend, before they host the Crusaders in Wellington on March 28.
The Hurricanes scored tries through left wing Shannon Paku, hooker Andrew Hore and Hosea Gear and openside flanker Chris Masoe, who scored two tries for his first brace of tries for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby. First five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth landed three conversions and his replacement Willie Ripia slotted a fourth.
After a tight and often stop-start first half that saw the Hurricanes head to the dressing rooms leading 7-3, the Hurricanes upped their tempo and attacking continuity after the interval to score four further tries and create a match winning 33-8 advantage late in the contest.
The Hurricanes extended their narrow halftime lead fifteen minutes into the second spell when Hore spun round in the tackle and crashed over the tryline for his 13th Super Rugby try, following an extended period of sustained pressure inside the Brumbies territory.
Gopperth converted for a 14-3 lead, while at the same time Brumbies No. 8 Stephen Hoiles found himself sinbinned by referee Willie Roos for backchat.
But the now 14-man Brumbies managed to hit back almost straightaway when replacement flanker Julian Salvi crossed in the corner following a shortside snipe by replacement halfback Josh Holmes. Fullback Mark Gerrard's conversion hit the uprights and the score remained at 14-8 - ahead of the Hurricanes' third try and the key moment of the match.
This next try to the Hurricanes on 62 minutes served to take the game away from the home team, the Hurricanes creating a turnover from near their own tryline with the Brumbies hot on attack and breaking out for a 90-metre counterattacking try, finished off by right wing Gear.
Gear was the benefactor in the sweeping movement up field, involving replacements Tane Tu'ipulotu and Alby Mathewson, as well as Paku and second five-eighth Tamati Ellison. This try extended the lead to 19-8 just when it seemed the Brumbies were mounting a comeback.
From there, the Hurricanes maintained the pressure on the Brumbies, Masoe flashing in for two more tries to seal a well earned win.
His first was set up by the momentum created by his loose forward partner Jerry Collins, who took a quick tap off a free kick inside the Brumbies' 22 and charged ahead. From the ensuing breakdown, Masoe, with a full head of steam, soared over the tryline to score near the corner. Gopperth's conversion made it 26-8.
More attacking rhythm saw Masoe cross for his double five minutes later off the shoulder of Collins' replacement Scott Waldrom, following a try saving tackle at the other end of the park by Hurricanes fullback Cory Jane on Brumbies left wing Francis Fainifo.
The Brumbies did manage to score a second try, to second five-eighth Tyrone Smith in the 75th minute, but by then an excellent Hurricanes win had been achieved.
Earlier, busy loosehead Prop Jacob Ellison, in his Super 14 run-on debut, brilliantly won a turnover near halfway and Gear soared up field, before linking with centre Conrad Smith to send Paku over under the posts for the only try of the first half.
The try was excellent reward for the defence orientated Hurricanes, who staved off several early movements by the Brumbies and also weathered the loss of second five-eighth Tamati Ellison to the sin bin for a high tackle in just the 12th minute.
Scores: At Canberra Stadium, Canberra: Hurricanes 33: Shannon Paku, Andrew Hore, Hosea Gear, Chris Masoe 2 tries; Jimmy Gopperth 3 cons; Willie Ripia con. Brumbies 15: Julian Salvi, Tyrone Smith tries; Mark Gerrard pen, con. HT 7-3.
The Hurricanes team who played the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night was:
15 Cory Jane, 14 Shannon Paku, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oailo, 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins,[/size] 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jacob Ellison. 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Wille Ripia, 22 Tane Tu'ipulotu.
55th: Tim Fairbrother (17) for Neemia Tialata (3) 55th: Tane Tu'ipulotu (22) for Conrad Smith (13) 59th: Jeremy Thrush (18) for Craig Clarke (4) 59th: Alby Mathewson (20) for Piri Weepu (9) 64th: Hika Elliot (16) for Andrew Hore (2) 72nd: Scott Waldrom (19) for Jerry Collins (6) 72nd: Willie Ripia (21) for Jimmy Gopperth (10) 73rd: Tialata for Jacob Ellison (1) – injury substitute.