CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The ACT Brumbies scored three tries from set pieces in a 10-minute spell in the second half Sunday to set up a 42-25 win over the Wellington-based Hurricanes in Super Rugby Pacific.
In a tight contest which saw four lead changes, neither side had led by more than six points in the first 47 minutes.
But Brumbies hooker Lachlan Lonergan drove over from a lineout at that point; five minutes later flanker Jahrome Brown scored off a dominant scrum and in the 57th minute Tom Banks finished a move which again stemmed from a lineout.
The tries gave the Brumbies a comfortable lead at 35-20. The Hurricanes hit back with a try to winger Salesi Rayasi but the missed conversion left the margin at 10 points.
The Brumbies finished in style in front of a large home crowd with a try to replacement Hudson Creighton who went alone with two unmarked players outside him and just scrambled the ball over the line. In doing so he brought up 10,000 points for the Brumbies in Super Rugby.
The Brumbies now have won two matches in a row against New Zealand teams and capped a weekend in which Australian teams won three of six games against New Zealand opponents.
The key to the Brumbies win was that solid set piece but they also excelled at the breakdown, delaying or winning contested possessions from the Hurricanes while quickly regaining their own ball. Backrower Rob Valetini was a powerful ball carrier and Brown’s strong game was only partly marred by a yellow card for a professional foul late in the first half.
“I think our intensity has really stepped up,” Brumbies captain Nic White said. “I think the things that we’ve talked about, the learnings from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman last year, it’s good to see they’re working for us.
“But I think we’re going to have to evolve again and go to another level because it doesn’t get any easier.”
The Hurricanes again were their own worst enemies. They looked penetrative at times with the ball in hand. Julian Savea and Rayasi were dangerous runners.
But they made too many handling errors and their discipline often failed them in defense where they crept up offside.
“I think we were in it in the first half but there were passages in both halves where our discipline let us down,” Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea said. “We gave away key penalties being offside and with a quality side like the Brumbies, giving them set piece ball in our own half and they’re going to punish us.”
The first half was close. An early exchange of penalties gave the Brumbies a 9-3 lead. A yellow card each reduced both teams to 14 men late and the Hurricanes scored the first try through Peter Umaga-Jensen who managed to score under a pile of bodies after a tapped penalty.
Valetini scored an extraordinary try in the 38th minute, kicking ahead and outpacing the chasers to score between two defenders.
The Brumbies led 16-13 at halftime but the Hurricanes retrieved the lead with Rayasi’s try immediately after the break.
The quick triple by the Brumbies gave them a lead they didn’t relinquish.
More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports