Al GIO Stadium, Canberra: Brumbies 35 (Folau Fainga’a 26 min, Irae Simone 31 min, Tom Banks 64 min, Tom Wright 73 min; Nic White against, Noah Lolesio 2 against, 3 pen) Hurricanes 25 (Josh Moorby tries 17min and 39min; Jordie Barrett 5 pen). HT: 15-22.
Red card: Len Ikitau (Brumbies) 22min. Yellow cards: Owen Franks (Hurricanes) 25min, Salesi Rayasi (Hurricanes) 72min.
The Hurricanes ’dreams of making the Super Rugby Pacific semifinals shattered in the rain in Canberra on Saturday night.
Mark Kolbe / Getty Images
Referee Paul Williams shows a red card to Len Ikitau (right) of the Brumbies while Allan Alaalatoa of the Brumbies shows his frustration during the quarter-finals of the Super Rugby Pacific in Canberra.
A dramatic quarterfinal at GIO Stadium ended in despair for the Hurricanes led by Ardie Savea after the tenacious Brumbies refused to let a slow start, and a red card to midfielder Len Ikitau in the first half, to limit their chances of meeting the blues. in the semifinals in Auckland next weekend.
The Brumbies, to be blunt, deserved the 35-25 victory.
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A Hurricanes victory would have meant the Australians would not have a team in the semi-finals, and the first indications were that this could be the case after the Kiwis bounced back with a 14-3 lead in the middle of the first period.
But all that changed as the tenacious Brumbies used powerful line-up momentum, breakdown commitment and defensive struggle to find another team and win the second half 20-3.
The sight of a frustrated Savea discussing the point with referee Paul Williams, after the yellow card on the wing Salesi Rayasi at the end of the match, said a lot.
It was that kind of nightmare for the ‘Cannes, and within minutes the Brumbies sealed the deal with an attempt to winger Tom Wright, who was converted by game creator Noah Lolesio.
Second-eighth Jordie Barrett was a great contributor to the Hurricanes, throwing five penalties, with winger Josh Moorby scoring two tries.
But the Brumbies’ patience and pressure proved too irresistible.
That’s not how the Hurricanes wanted to celebrate TJ Perenara’s 150th outing for the franchise, as the midfielder survived a scare in the first few minutes when his knee was exhausted in an inning.
Perenara was substituted halfway through the second half, with his team clinging to a 25-21 lead, and it must have been a disturbing journey for the All Black as he watched the drama unfold.
TMO Richard Kelly also had a busy night, with Williams asking him to join the jury after two high tackles in the first half.
Ikitau was shown a red card for hitting Aidan Morgan’s first five-eighths of the Hurricanes, and shortly after Hurricane-style tackle Owen Franks received a yellow card for hitting Brumbies player Noah Lolesio.
“There was a high degree of strength and unfortunately it’s a red card,” Williams said, almost sympathetically in his voice, as he told Ikitau that his night was over.
Brumbies fans were trapped in Franks, believing that their fate should have been the same as Ikitau’s, but their boos could also have been directed at a garden gnome, such as his lack of reaction.
Moorby could have received a cross shot from Barrett with a bandana tied around his eyes, such was the accuracy of the missile when he took the first attempt of the night.
This provoked a period full of action; Ikitau was sent off for his shot on Morgan, and Franks was punished for going too high on Lolesio.
With both sides reduced to 14 players, the Brumbies raised their head from the pillows and put on all their wild eyes; Hooker Folau Fainga’a and midfielder Irae Simone, the latter after Barrett rushed too fast, scored tries as the Brumbies took a short lead before Barrett rounded out his third penalty in the first half.
It was crazy, and sometimes stimulating. And he improved even better in the final moments before the break when Moorby scored his second try.
But the Brumbies were too good in the second half. There have been no complaints from the ‘Cannes.
The big moment
There were a couple of them. The red card for Ikitau could have reduced the lead after 37 minutes, but his shot hit the post after a nice combination in the middle of the park.
On the other hand, Salesi Rayasi’s play was disheartening.
7.5 / 10
Pulsing and very dramatized. Fair play for the Brumbies, too. A well-deserved victory.
The big picture
The Brumbies will face the Blues in the semifinals in Auckland. It’s a hell of a job. They will enter this contest as the underdogs after the high-flying Blues easily relied on the Highlanders in their quarterfinals at Eden Park.
Brumbies midfielder Nic White is a scrapper, his composure never flowing as he led his team down the court.