Hi again guys. Some of you may be wondering what happened with the Waratahs and Highlanders match reports - well, to put it simply they didn't happen. Not that I wasn't stoked with the performances it's just I somewhat kept running out of time. Just now though I've got this e-mail from Jess fowarded to me
Love the website, its just awesome!!
But Nathan where have u gone?? There hasn't been any Hurricanes blurbs since the Reds game! What about the Waratahs and Highlanders games? I don't feel there's any need to mention the Brumbies one, but come on Nathan!! The Canes fans need you in this website of Crusaderness!!
Other than that its wicked, keep it up
It's nice to know that someone reads these things - so Jess, you're in luck. I've got my A into G and the Brumbies match report follows.
After smashing 7 opponents: the Stormers, Sharks, Cats, Chiefs, Reds, Waratahs and Highlanders in consecutive weeks, we were feeling pretty damn good about life in Hurricaneland. The stadium was a sellout and we were ready to welcome Grogan and his mob from Canberra. Interesting to hear via radio that the Highlanders had somehow lost to NSW prior to kickoff. A Brumbies win would see them move into the top 4 and break the all-NZ finals series we all want to see so much.
Well the game began and the Brumbies looked very organised at first - peppering the advantage line, playing the classical "rugby league" style of game the Brumbies are so famous for. Soon though one of the Brumbies committed one of the most obvious from-the-side-in-a-ruck penalties I've seen for some time. Holwell slots it and it's 3-zip.
The first try came courtesy of a big hitup by the fish which was then spun wide. Quick hands from Nonu and Cullen especially saw Fa'atau zip over for a brilliant try. Party time, everyone thinks. 10-0 and looking dangerous. But those Brumbies just don't give up. They could be behind by 40 or ahead by 40 - they still don't give up. A sign of a quality team.
The Bumbies replied pretty soon with Mark Gerrad going over after Nonu badly missed a tackle from a pretty simple backline move from set-piece. They're talking about him being in the Wallabies - funny cause I've never heard of him.
It might have been before the try or after it that Holwell missed an absolute sitter dead in front about 30 metres out. It was shocking to see Davy - the man you can usually depend on like a Swiss watch have a 'mare with the boot. He missed a total of 7 points on the night - who knows might have transpired if we'd needed just a penalty or drop-goal when we were attacking late in the game.
Stephen Larkham had an inspirational game. He set up the next try with a precision-timed run from a midfield scrum. With a brilliant change of direction the Brumbies scored a lovely set-piece try. Converted by Roff and 14-10 Brumbies - not so easy now, matie.
What happened next must surely be some sort of record. Could some train-spotter dig up what the fastest Super 12 try after a kickoff is? I'll bet my bottom dollar that the Hurricanes next try breaks it. Basically Holwell kicks off, none of the Brumbies claim it, instead Brent Ward grabs it and dives over for a try! Unbelievable! 15-14 to the Hurricanes. The Brumbies fowards got a good telling off by captain couragous George Gregan himself.
To round off the half the Brumbies attacked in our half some more, but in a wonderful breakout Nonu broke a tackle, and from there Umaga and Ward had a hand in getting the ball to Cullen in full flight. Isn't it bloody great to see? Not just for Hurricanes supporters, but all New Zealand must enjoy seeing Cully play like he is. The All Blacks will be stronger with a fit Cullen than without one. I'm still doubtful whether it was a try (looked like a leg was in touch), but the video ump said "try time". Cullen's 8th try of the season and now equal with Rupeni.
20-14 at the break and while the players were in the sheds some stupid More FM radio jockey said "Great to have a capacity crowd here at Westpac Stadium to watch the Hurricanes BEAT the Brumbies". From there there was never going to be any other result than a Brumbies win.
The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half was exciting but produced no points. The highlight was undoubtably Gregan getting marched 10 metres for yapping at Jonathan Kaplan. Brought a smile to many a kiwi rugby fan I'll bet.
The Brumbies next score was so soft that tissue companies would do well to buy the rights to screen the try and say "Our tissues are as soft as this try". Make a fortune I reckon. The Brumbies buildup was good, but from a ruck about parallel with the right-hand goalpost Gregan was able to take about 8-10 seconds to dig the ball out of the ruck and still was able to pass to George Smith who simply dived under the posts. No-one was there to tackle him - there was quite a lot of defence out wide, but none between the sticks. The most painful thing was that you could see it coming - I think the whole stadium could.
Brent Ward touched down for his second of the evening when the Hurricanes got possesion back from the kickoff. People were raving about his awesome strength to break the tackles of Roff and Wilson - but in reality they just plain missed him. Mini-Cullen strikes again and we're back in the lead, and after the events in Carisbrook, assured of being in the semis with the bonus point. Holwell knocks it over and it's 27-21. What a game!
After some more titanic struggling the Brumbies got a penalty which everyone expected Roff to boot over - but Gregan decided to go for the lineout. A good move in the end - the Brumbies had it over us in the lineouts all night and it wasn't long before Walker-bout scored in the corner. Bloody Roff kicks from the sideline to put the Brumbies back in the lead.
The final try was a penalty try. I'm no expert in scrums (being a fullback when I'm playing the game) but I've seen those given before so I have to assume it was a fair call. The Brumbies tried to go for a pushover but the Hurricanes fell over. 35-27 the Brumbies lead and although the Hurricanes got another period of attack, that was the way it stayed.
A lot of people left early, but I for one did not. Leaving early indicates you're so disgusted with your team that you're not prepared to sit and watch them play out the final few minutes. I stayed, and I applauded the Canes when they did their lap of honour. For a team that's made the top 4 when I predicted that 6th would be a miracle, it's hardly fair for the Canes fans to be upset over one loss by 8 points. Disappointed, sure. But people are already talking as if we've lost the Blues game AND the semifinal.
You don't lose all the momentum you've gained from 7 wins in a row by losing 1 - I still believe we've got every chance of beating the Blues up there in Auckland. Whether we get a home semi or we're forced to travel to Fortress Cantabrius will depend on that game - and the one immediately following it.
Can the Crusaders knock the Brumbies off at Bruce Stadium? All I know is that it'll be very tough for the Red n'Blacks especially coming home from Africa. Those Brumbies aren't finished yet - not by a long shot.
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