7 June 2023

Brumbies versus the Hurricanes in a quarter-final should be a classic

| Tim Gavel
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Brumbies 2004

Steve Larkham with the Brumbies after winning the Super Rugby title in 2004 at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Brumbies.rugby.

In 2016, when Canberra and Wellington became sister cities, one of the driving forces for the union – apart from the obvious – was the shared passion for rugby.

An extension of that reasoning should also include a passion for running rugby.

And these two teams have put on some classics over the years.

Many still have a vision of giant winger Jonah Lomu trampling over the top of numerous Brumbies players in the Hurricanes’ 34-19 victory in 2001.

There were also the sublime running skills of fullback Christian Cullen.

The Brumbies, led by Larkham, Gregan and Roff, matched the Hurricanes with a strong inclination to attack.

It is almost as if it’s the DNA of both teams.

Last year was a case in point when the Brumbies beat the Hurricanes 35-25 in the quarterfinal at Canberra Stadium.

It was the first time the Brumbies had beaten a New Zealand team in a playoff game since 2014.

That night, the Brumbies overcame enormous odds after centre Len Ikitau was red-carded in the first half following a high shot on Hurricanes fly-half Aidan Morgan.

The Brumbies won the game through composure and attacking rugby.

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As they prepare to meet again on Saturday night in the quarterfinal, there is evidence enough that both teams have an attacking mindset.

The Brumbies were far from their best last weekend in the 33-17 win over the Melbourne Rebels, breaking a two-game losing streak following losses to the Force and the Chiefs.

Corey Toole continues to impress on the wing. He creates expectations every time he touches the ball.

But the platform will need to be made by the forwards with the return of James Slipper, in particular, a massive boost.

Fullback Tom Wright was far from his best last weekend, but the Hurricanes could provide a game to his liking if it opens up.

The Hurricanes, laden with All Blacks, overcame the Crusaders 27-26 last weekend after being 16 points down. The Hurricanes are a team to fear as they boast the likes of Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett and halfback Cam Roigard.

But the Hurricanes are susceptible to pressure, as we saw in the past month in their losses to Fiji, the Chiefs and the Blues.

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The last time the Brumbies and Hurricanes met, on 28 April in Wellington, the Hurricanes won 32-27, with Ryan Lonergan kicking a penalty goal after the siren to give the Brumbies a bonus point.

The Hurricanes scored four tries to three.

The Brumbies were without Ikitau and Pete Samu on that night in Wellington.

If the Brumbies are to turn the tables, they will need to improve their lineouts and ball control in the attacking half, something that was missing in the win over the Rebels.

Let’s hope the quarterfinal clash brings a crowd to Canberra Stadium. Photo: File.

Winning the physical battle at the breakdown is always the key to beating Kiwi teams. Once that is achieved, the Brumbies can go on the attack.

The Hurricanes will have a similar mindset.

This game should be a classic.

The Brumbies take on the Hurricanes at GIO Stadium this Saturday (10 June). Tickets from Ticketek.

Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.

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