Former Wallabies lock Justin Harrison has hailed “a telling change of momentum” after the Brumbies secured back-to-back Australian Super Rugby wins against rivals New Zealand.
The Brumbies put on a strong team performance to beat the error-riddled Hurricanes 42-25 on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Canberra.
He kept the heat on the Blues in the lead after 11 rounds, with the Brumbies 9-1 just a point off the pace in second.
And just as importantly, it kept the good vibes going in the Aussie game, a day after the $15 Waratahs produced a monumental 24-21 upset of the Crusaders in Sydney.
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The Australian sides went 2-2 against their Kiwi opponents throughout the weekend, with the Reds and Force dropping just two and four points respectively.
“Fantastic to see the uncertainty of the outcome,” former Brumbies star Harrison said on Stan Sport.
“You’re on the edge of your seat listening to interviews with All Blacks players talking about a defeat and how difficult it was to come here and play.
“It’s a telling shift in momentum from what we’ve seen in the past.”
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After two rounds of crossover games, Australian sides have already won more trans-Tasman games (three) than they have in the entire 2021 season (a miserable 2-24).
The Hurricanes’ last four defeats on Australian soil have all come in Canberra.
“It’s good for a change, isn’t it?” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.
“We always talk about the New Zealand teams dominating the Australian teams, but that’s good to know. Really nice.
“Canberra has always been a tough place to come and play and other teams will tell you that, but through your performance you have to make sure that happens.”
After a close first half, the Brumbies opened the game with three tries in 10 minutes.
Hooker Lachlan Lonergan barred the back of a trademark lineout, standout flanker Jahrome Brown made amends for a yellow card to score, then fullback Tom Banks clocked in for a 35-20 advantage.
Substitute Hudson Creighton put the icing on the cake by scoring with his chin, but it wasn’t even the Brumbies’ most memorable try of the game.
That honor went to blind power Rob Valetini, who tossed the ball into space and surprisingly passed Hurricanes coverage to score in the 38th minute.
Brumbies captain Nic White naturally cut a good figure.
“I think our intensity has really stepped up,” White told Stan Sport.
“I think the things that we talked about, the learnings from trans-Tasman Super Rugby last year, it’s good to see that they’re working for us.
“But I think we’re going to have to evolve again and go to another level because it doesn’t get any easier.”
The 5-5 Hurricanes, meanwhile, are in seventh place but in final position thanks to the generous top-eight format.
They will be expected to bounce back next Sunday against the Drua in Wellington.
“I think we were there in the first half, but there were times in both halves where our discipline let us down,” Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea told Stan Sport.
“We gave away key penalties being offside and with a quality team like the Brumbies, giving them a set-piece in our own half and they’re going to punish us.”
The Brumbies are now preparing for their first international assignment of the season with a trip to Hamilton to face the Chiefs on Saturday.
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