Noah Lolesio of the Brumbies celebrates after scoring a try, Alamy Stock Photo
Super Rugby

Hurricanes suffer first defeat, lead Super Rugby by one point

Elsewhere, the Blues fought back from a late 11-point deficit to beat the Queensland Reds 41-34.

OUTHALF NOAH LOLESIO scored 17 points as the ACT Brumbies beat the Wellington Hurricanes 27-19 on Saturday to hand the visitors their first loss of the Super Rugby season.

The third-placed Brumbies scored all three of their tries in the opening quarter of a fast-moving contest in Canberra, and Lolesio’s boot kept them in front of a Hurricanes side who had won their opening eight games.

The Hurricanes remain on top of the standings despite the defeat with five rounds to play in the regular season, but they are only one point ahead of the Auckland Blues.

The Blues fought back from a late 11-point deficit to beat the Queensland Reds 41-34 in Brisbane, only securing victory when reserve scrum-half Sam Nock scored a thrilling counter-attack try after the final hooter.

The sixth-placed Reds looked poised to pull off an upset when 20-year-old winger Tim Ryan crossed for three tries in the space of 14 minutes on debut to put the home side 31-20 ahead.

However, the Blues fought back to extend their winning streak to six matches, including the previous week’s 46-7 thrashing of the Brumbies — the third-heaviest loss in the Australian side’s history.

The Brumbies responded with a clinical display against the Hurricanes, dominating the breakdown and denying opportunities for their opponents’ dangerous backline.

Captain Ryan Lonergan said they wanted to show their capitulation against the Blues was a one-off.

“We needed a response and that’s exactly what we delivered,” Lonergan said.

“We lacked intensity heading into the Blues week… so it was positive to roll that out tonight.”

Lolesio opened the scoring with a sharp try down the blind side before outstanding midfield back Tamati Tua and winger Ollie Sapsford also crossed to give the home side a 24-12 halftime lead.

The standout for the Hurricanes was prop Xavier Numia, who powered over for two first-half tries and led a potent scrummaging display.

Jordie Barrett, who set to join Leinster in December, completed a fine counter-attack to reduce the deficit to eight points with 35 minutes remaining but there were no further points scored.

Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said any sense of complacency had been knocked out of his team.

“It’s a bloody tough place to come and play but we weren’t clinical enough,” Shields said.

Winger Taniela Rakuro earlier scored two tries as the Fijian Drua beat Moana Pasifika 24-17 in front of their home supporters in Lautoka.

The Drua’s fourth win from nine games leaves them in seventh place, while Moana dropped out of the top eight.

Eighth place was claimed by the Otago Highlanders, who saw off the Western Force 7-6 in an error-riddled match in Dunedin.

– © AFP 2024

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