Rugby-Hurricanes march on as Auckland give Brumbies the blues

  • Rugby
  • Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Rugby Union - International - Wales v Australia - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - November 26, 2022 Australia's Noah Lolesio converts a try Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/ File Photo

(Reuters) - Wellington Hurricanes maintained their 100% start to this year’s Super Rugby Pacific with a 38-15 win over Fijian Drua, while Canterbury Crusaders slipped back to the foot of the table with a 37-15 loss to the Western Force on Saturday.

There were also wins for Auckland Blues and Queensland Reds. The Hurricanes lead the table with 37 points from eight games, followed by the Blues with 32 and Australia's ACT Brumbies on 27.

The Hurricanes were far from perfect as poor discipline in the second half led to three yellow cards, but they inflicted a first home defeat of the season on their Fijian hosts.

The visitors led 28-7 at the break and had already secured their bonus point, but were scrappy after the break and took 34 minutes to add to their score with three players sent to the sin-bin.

Centre Jordie Barrett, who announced this week he would miss the 2025 Super Rugby season as he turns out for Irish side Leinster, was one of their five try-scorers.

"We talked about it during the week, that it was going to be about the effort early," Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said. "We didn't think we were going to be down to 13. But it did show good character, the way we held it together on the line and connected on defence."

The Blues inflicted a crushing 46-7 defeat on the Brumbies in a battle between second and third on the table in Auckland, their biggest ever win against the Australian side as they ran in seven tries to one.

The Brumbies came into the fixture with six wins from seven games this season but were thoroughly outplayed at a wet Eden Park as number eight Hoskins Sotutu scored a brace of tries for the hosts.

"We know that we can play the carry, clean game really well and we knew with the weather it was going to be a strong point," Sotutu said.

The Brumbies were not helped by poor game management. Thinking time was up at the end of the first half, flyhalf Noah Lolesio put the ball out on the full, which gave the Blues a scrum from which Sotutu scored to give the hosts a 24-0 lead.

The Reds completed their first Super Rugby shutout since 1999 as they beat the Otago Highlanders 31-0 in Brisbane to reignite their season after three successive defeats.

The bonus-point win was completed thanks to tries from Hunter Paisami, Ryan Smith, Lawson Creighton and Suliasi Vunivalu.

"We worked through what we felt we had to get right," Reds coach Les Kiss said. "It didn't come through in a flowing way. It was tougher and grittier but we found a solution."

Kiss will be sweating on a dislocated shoulder for key centre Jordan Petaia that forced the player off in the first half and will hope it is not season-ending.

The defending champion Crusaders fell to a seventh loss in eight games as the Force leapfrogged them on the table with tries by Chase Tiatia, Tom Horton, Sam Carter and Carlo Tizzano.

Levi Aumua, George Bell and Sevu Reece crossed for scores for the Crusaders, who remain six points off a quarter-final place but were sloppy in possession and lost the collisions against a fired-up Force.

"It was good. The boys wanted to rip into it," Carter said. "It shows a lot of fight, we are a young team with only a couple of experienced guys. Full credit to everyone."

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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