All Black Flyhalf Beauden Barrett oversaw a masterclass on attack as his side scored 42 second-half points to come from behind and blow the Brumbies away 56-21 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Napier on Friday.
Barrett was exceptional as his side rallied from 21-14 down at the break to score six second-half tries, and totally outclass the Australian side in the second stanza.
It meant that midfielder Vince Aso claimed a hat-trick and flanker Callum Gibbins a brace as the Brumbies, who scored three tries of their own in the first half in 10 minutes to stun the home side, were dealt a furious response that showed the gulf between the two nations at the moment.
Barrett carried the ball 16 times to make 131 metres on his own, beat six defenders on his own, made three clean breaks and passed the ball 22 times in a game where he wasn’t only kingmaker, but also king on attack. In addition to this, two kick-passes found their mark for tries and his try assist tally sat at four, showing just what a big influence he had on the match.
Without the burden of kicking – where his younger brother Jordie converted a perfect seven while he was on the field, Barrett grew in confidence and controlled the game like a seasoned pro.
It was Barrett that got his side to an early 14-0 lead, taking the opportunity in the sixth minute to pop a perfect pass to Aso, who surged through a gap and flummoxed the entire Brumbies defence to score under the posts.
Four minutes later he was at it again, this time a cross kick that landed perfectly in Corey Jane’s hands to go in at the corner.
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The Brumbies looked out of it, and struggled to come to terms with the linespeed of the Hurricanes, but found a way on the 20 minute mark, a change of fortunes that saw them barge their way back into the lead.
Tevita Kuridrani was the man who was the thorn in the Canes flesh and after a beautiful inside ball he found his way over the line for the opening try. Six minutes later the Brumbies were pounding the Canes line, and eventually found a hole, with captain Sam Carter emerging with the try that tied up the game.
And then from the kickoff the Brumbies scored one of the tries of the season, as they ran the ball back from their own 22, put it through 11 pairs of hands as they went coast to coast, with scrumhalf Joe Powell finishing off the move to put them up 21-14 at the break.
The game, though, swung on its axis as Wharenui Hawera was yellow-carded for cynical play as he stopped a Canes attack, and while he was in the sin-bin, momentum went firmly back to the home side who never looked back.
Another cross-kick from Barrett and Aso darted inside to score his second, and and then the midfielder was perfectly put into a hole by Barrett again to score his third, all before Hawera came back onto the field.
Being with equal numbers didn’t help the visitors as the Canes moved up a gear, with Gibbins getting his first on the hour mark as he charged down Hawera’s kick to collect and score, and he was followed onto the scoreboard four minutes later as Mark Abbott punched his way over the line from close range.
Gibbins got his second eight minutes from time at the back of a rolling maul while Barrett had the final say with a cross kick perfectly placed for Ngani Laumape, who scored the eighth and final try to complete the rout.
Hurricanes - Tries: Vince Aso (3), Cory Jane, Callum Gibbins (2), Mark Abbott, Ngani Laumape. Conversions: Jordie Barrett (7), Otere Black.
Brumbies - Tries: Tevita Kuridrani, Sam Carter, Joe Powell. Conversions: Wharenui Hawera (3).
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (NZL)