Brumbies lift to keep Hurricanes winless
March 7, 2014
Matt Toomua celebrated his 50th match by setting up two tries for the Brumbies
© Getty Images
It was a gutsy display from the Brumbies, who are still coming to terms with the fact they will be without Pocock for rest of the Super Rugby season after he suffered another knee injury last week.
"We spoke about him a lot before the game," Mowen said. "He's an extremely important character in our squad and when a guy's hurting like that you just want to make sure you give him a performance like tonight."
Wallabies centre Pat McCabe, who was a late addition to the starting line-up after a strain to his troubled neck last week, was superb with several line breaks and some hardy tackle busts.
"He was outstanding. To come off the back of last week where he thought he may have injured his neck, and to play like he did tonight, I think that says a lot about his character," Mowen said.
Just as impressive was elusive fullback Jesse Mogg, who sparked the Brumbies comeback with two pieces of individual brilliance just before the break, one of which was the visitor's first of four tries.
The Brumbies impressed in Wellington (video available only in Australia)
The home side raced into a 13-3 lead in dubious circumstances when, winger Cory Jane, his side already 6-3 up, looked to have put a foot into touch before throwing a final pass to TJ Perenara. The match officials opted against checking with the TMO and Beauden Barrett converted Perenara's try for the 10-point advantage.
The Brumbies declined a penalty shot for the second time in the 35th minute, and the gamble paid dividends when Mogg gliding through a gaping gap from a centre-field scrum. Mogg sliced through again from the re-start in blistering fashion, chipped ahead, re-gathered, pirouetted the fullback and then was brought down from behind in good field position.
Winger Robbie Coleman finished off the play in the corner to give the Brumbies a 15-13 lead at the break. With things finally clicking for the Brumbies, it took just 90 seconds for Scott Fardy to be held up over the line after half-time, and then another 90 seconds for outstanding centre Tevita Kuridrani to spin over the line from close range.
A 56th-minute Hurricanes penalty goal narrowed the gap to within a converted try, but the Brumbies held their nerve, McCabe chiming in several times in attack before replacement Lachlan McCaffrey scored the bonus-point try. Hurricanes No.8 Blade Thomson scored a late five-pointer, but Barrett missed the conversion to let the bonus point slip.
Brumbies halfback Nic White had a stellar night with the boot with four goals from five attempts, while his halfback partner Matt Toomua went off in the second half - but it's not believed to be a serious injury.