Better organisation and continuity set the Brumbies on the road to a classy bonus point 29-21 win over the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday.
A late injection of enthusiasm from replacement fullback Marty Banks, followed an earlier lift provided by flanker Ardie Savea and hooker Motu Matu'u, resulted in a late try for the Hurricanes but they were well beaten in most facets on the night.
Pat McCabe made some telling midfield breaks to lift the attacking spirit of his side, and he was a key contributor in three of their tries. The mood was developed further by fullback Jesse Mogg who also found spaces to advantage as the Brumbies came from behind to go to the break ahead 15-13.
Scrumhalf Nic White was a speedy asset behind the scrum and in distribution giving Matt Toomua invaluable time to make his decisions while the loose forwards Ben Mowen, Scott Fardy and Jarrad Butler were an efficient combination.
The Hurricanes by comparison were scrappy, and disorganised under defensive pressure with too many gaps in their line when hot on defence. Their set piece play was inconsistent, especially at lineouts while some of the frenetic catch-up play meant ball was thrown away too often.
Even when attempting to kick for position in the second half, they too often found hand rather than land, gifting the ball back to the Brumbies.
An early and powerful break by All Blacks wing Julian Savea suggested danger for the visitors but he was bottled up for much of the game.
Beauden Barrett was close to securing a penalty try while his break created the initial impetus in the build-up for halfback TJ Perenara's try.
The home team went out to a 6-0 lead through two Barrett penalty goals, including his 400th Super Rugby point, to which White responded for the Brumbies.
Then in the 31st minute, Perenara scored a fortuitous try, it appeared wing Cory Jane had stepped on the sideline, after a Barrett break opened the defences. Some tap ball on the Brumbies goal-line from Jane and Conrad Smith resulted in Perenara racing through to tidy up and drive over.
But in the 35th minute after some solid build-up work which resulted in a five-metre scrum, the ball was moved to the left where Mogg strolled through a gap from the scrum to score beside the posts.
Then a Mogg-inspired breakout from their own territory, saw him chip ahead to regain the ball to set up another drive at the line. It wasn't an instant result, but steady build-up created space out wide, and Toomua sensed it to fling a long pass to wing Robbie Coleman who scored.
Lads are happy pic.twitter.com/beqBM3Kk0B— Laurie Fisher (@LordLaurie58) March 7, 2014
McCabe made another break early in the second half which almost produced a try for Fardy who was ruled just short. But from the scrum the Brumbies demonstrated the continuity play that is their tradition.
It was Fardy who linked after a drive by hooker Stephen Moore to allow White to fling a pass across the Hurricanes defence and it was centre Tevita Kuridrani who cork-screwed through the gap to score.
It typified the Hurricanes night that an attempted grubber kick by Barrett was turned over and moved wide for McCabe to set up opportunities and in a second attempt to score it was replacement forward Lachie McCaffrey who scored.