Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes return to winning ways with narrow victory over ACT Brumbies

The Hurricanes have celebrated Julian Savea's milestone night with victory, defeating the ACT Brumbies 32-27 at Wellington's Sky Stadium.

As the veteran winger notched his 150th game for the club, the Hurricanes ran in four tries, to move third on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder for the time being.

However, the close nature of the scoreline failed to net the Hurricanes a bonus point, and opens the door for the Crusaders to overtake them on the table - if they can defeat the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday. 

Ardie Savea scores for the Hurricanes.
Ardie Savea scores for the Hurricanes. Photo credit: Photosport

What's more, a penalty after the siren to Brumbies replacement halfback Ryan Lonergan gave the Brumbies a vital bonus point of their own, that stopped the Hurricanes moving second on the table, courtesy of points differential. 

All up, though, the victory was welcome to the Hurricanes, after a 33-17 defeat to the Chiefs two weeks ago, seeing the side return to winning ways. 

Despite a bright start from the Hurricanes, it was the Brumbies who opened the scoring inside the opening minutes, as lock Nick Frost held off two defenders to cross for the first try of the night after a slick counter-attack.

The hosts hit back minutes later, though, as Devan Flanders latched onto a kick through the line by Salesi Rayasi, as Jordie Barrett's conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.

And from 0-7 down, the Hurricanes took a 14-7 lead midway through the first half, as a clever lineout set play saw Asafo Aumua put captain Ardie Savea in to score unopposed.

The move was a sight to see for All Blacks fans, with Hurricanes coach Jason Holland appointed as an assistant to the incoming Scott Robertson for 2024.

Cam Roigard against the Brumbies.
Cam Roigard against the Brumbies. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Hurricanes' lead didn't last, though, as Frost doubled up with his second try of the game, showing off his pace with a 60-metre breakaway after a misplaced kick from Aidan Morgan to lock the scores up again.

Meanwhile, the hosts were rocked by a double blow in their forward pack, as James Blackwell failed a head injury assessment (HIA), before his replacement Caleb Delany suffered the same fate. 

A penalty on halftime gave the Hurricanes the lead heading into the break, before impressive young halfback Cam Roigard extended it even further to start the second spell.

On the Brumbies' line, the 22-year-old fooled the Brumbies defence with a dummy, and beat the defensive line to score the Hurricanes' third try. 

The Brumbies responded in turn, as their trademark driving maul put loose forward Rory Scott over, but a pair of Jordie Barrett penalties kept the Hurricanes in front with a 25-19 lead entering the final minutes. 

Aidan Morgan extended that lead even further, stepping through the Brumbies' line to score his side's fourth try of the night, and leave the visitors needing two converted tries in the final 10 minutes for victory.

They'd get one of them, when the Brumbies made use of an overlap on the left flank to send winger Corey Toole over in the corner, but a missed conversion from Longergan meant an eight-point deficit with two minutes left on the clock.

With time up on the clock, Lonergan did land one last kick, and secured the Brumbies a vital bonus point to keep them second to the Chiefs on the Super Rugby ladder.

The Hurricanes will look to climb the table further next week, when they travel to Lautoka to face Fijian Drua.

The Brumbies meanwhile will return to Australia, for a trip to Melbourne to face the Rebels. 

Hurricanes 32 (Flanders, A.Savea, Roigard, Morgan tries; Barrett 2, Morgan conversions; Barrett 2 penalties)
Brumbies 27 (Frost 2, Scott, Toole tries; Lolesio 2 conversions; R.Lonergan penalty)