Super Rugby: Brumbies hold on to stun Hurricanes, Highlanders thrash Waratahs

By Sports Desk June 05, 2021

Jordie Barrett missed two late penalties as the Hurricanes lost their 100 per cent Super Rugby Trans-Tasman record, slipping to a 12-10 defeat to the Brumbies after the Highlanders had hammered the Waratahs.

The Hurricanes' hopes of reaching the final were rocked at GIO Stadium, where the Brumbies held on to secure their first win of the competition on Saturday.

Brumbies scrum-half Ryan Lonergan crossed for the opening try in Canberra, but Jason Holland's side led 10-7 at half-time courtesy of a Dane Coles score and five points from the boot of Barrett.

Len Ikitau put the Brumbies back in front with their second try 12 minutes after the break and the visitors had a late Alex Fidow try ruled out for a knock-on.

Barrett was then off target with a penalty from the halfway line in the closing stages and the New Zealand international was unable to win it from the tee with the last kick of the game.

A second victory for an Australian franchise in the tournament leaves the beaten Hurricanes in fourth place and looking likely to miss out on a place in the final, with just one game of the regular season to come, which is against the Reds next Friday.

A ruthless Highlanders team had no such trouble in Dunedin, thrashing the struggling Waratahs 59-23 to sit in second place - a point behind the Blues and ahead of the Crusaders on points difference.

They ran away with it in the second half, scoring 26 points without reply after going in at the interval with a 33-23 advantage.

There were doubles for Ethan de Groot and Jona Nareki in a nine-try rout, while Mitch Hunt booted 14 points.

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    South Africa will attempt to spoil Michael Hooper's record-breaking Australia appearance when the Springboks go on a Rugby Championship revenge mission on Saturday.

    Hooper will captain the Wallabies for a 60th time at Suncorp Stadium, surpassing the number of times George Gregan led Australia out.

    A special occasion for the skipper will come six days after Quade Cooper marked his international return by kicking a dramatic winning penalty against the Boks on the Gold Coast.

    Holders South Africa were consigned to a stunning 28-26 defeat in Queensland and trail leaders New Zealand by five points.

    Australia are unbeaten in six Tests against the Springboks on home soil ahead of the round-four showdown, after achieving their first win of this year's tournament last weekend.

    The All Blacks have maximum points from three matches and can take another stride towards regaining the title by beating Argentina.

    Here, Stats Perform uses Opta facts to preview the Rugby Championship double-header in Brisbane.

     


    AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA

    Form

    South Africa will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in men's Tests for the first time since November 2018.

    Australia have not won back-to-back Tests since October 2019 and may need to show their staying power once again to get their hands on the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate.

    Dave Rennie's side have scored 27 points in the final quarter of games in this tournament, more than any other quarter of a match.

    Nic White, James Slipper and Taniela Tupou come into the Australia team. Jacques Nienaber makes three changes to South Africa's matchday squad, with Marvin Orie and Trevor Nyakane starting. Cheslin Kolbe is not ready to return from injury.

     

    Ones to watch

    Andrew Kellaway scored Australia's only try in last week's win over the world champions.

    The wing is the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with three, alongside David Havili and Malcolm Marx. 

    With Lood de Jager absent due to concussion, Orie takes over at lock for South Africa.

    De Jager has won a competition-high 22 lineouts, including three steals, so Orie has big shoes to fill.

     

    ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND

    Form

    The All Blacks dished out a 39-0 thrashing to Argentina in round three, Luke Jacobson scoring two of their five tries.

    New Zealand have kept the Pumas scoreless in each of their past two meetings and have only failed to beat them in two of 32 previous encounters.

    Argentina have lost three consecutive Tests, having lost only twice in their 10 prior to that run.

    Joe Moody comes into a much-changed All Blacks side and Ardie Savea returns as captain, while Samisoni Taukei'aho makes his first Test start. Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tuungafasi are also among the starters.

    Santiago Carreras starts for Argentina at fly-half, while Pablo Matera takes the number eight shirt as Mario Ledesma makes six changes.

     

    Ones to watch

    The versatile Damian McKenzie gets the chance to start a second Test at fly-half for the All Blacks.

    Playmaker McKenzie can put on a show at number 10 and pull the strings in tandem with scrum-half TJ Perenara.

    Pumas captain Julian Montoya won three turnovers in the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and his tally of four is twice as many as any other player in the tournament.

    Montoya has not missed any of his 40 tackles in the competition.

  • All Blacks make wholesale changes for Pumas rematch All Blacks make wholesale changes for Pumas rematch

    Damian McKenzie will start at fly-half in a Test for the first time in three years as New Zealand overhauled their XV for the Rugby Championship clash against Argentina.

    All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has made wholesale changes after last week's 39-0 rout of the Pumas on the Gold Coast, with McKenzie to start at number 10 in Brisbane on Saturday having been introduced off the bench.

    New Zealand's backline at Suncorp Stadium will feature only four players who started against Argentina last time out as the All Blacks look to maintain their 100 per cent record in the competition – Ardie Savea returning to captain the side.

    "With five Tests in a row and a six-day turnaround between these two Argentinian Tests, we were always going to make some selection changes," Foster said. "Five Tests in a row demanded that. 

    "But the good thing is that we have a group that has been focussing on the same opposition for the last two weeks, so our preparation time hasn’t been compromised.

    "We are expecting a huge response from Argentina and we have to make sure we are prepared for that because we know what a wounded beast is like. The key is not so much how they respond, but how we respond. If we go into this Test match thinking it's just going to happen for us like last week without earning the right to have the scoreboard in our favour, then we are in trouble."

    New Zealand have won 30 of their 32 previous men's Tests against Argentina (D1, L1), including their last two in succession. They have also won three of their four meetings on neutral territory in that time (L1).

    The All Blacks have kept Argentina scoreless in each of their last two meetings – only twice since 1900 has any Tier 1 nation kept another Tier 1 nation scoreless for more consecutive games (England – four games against Ireland from 1956 to 1959; France – three games against Italy from 1959 to 1961).

    New Zealand have won their last eight consecutive Tests by an average margin of 40 points. A ninth straight victory would equal their longest winning streak since a run of 18 victories from August 2015 to October 2016.

     

    New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'I, Ethan Blackadder, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu.
    Replacements: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Braydon Ennor.

  • Hooper to make Wallabies history as most-capped Australia captain Hooper to make Wallabies history as most-capped Australia captain

    Michael Hooper will become the Wallabies' most-capped captain when he leads Australia out against world champions South Africa.

    The Wallabies announced their side for Saturday's clash with the Springboks as Hooper prepares to make history in the Rugby Championship showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

    Hooper – who debuted in 2012 – will captain Australia for the 60th time in Brisbane, surpassing George Gregan after equalling the record in last week's dramatic victory over South Africa.

    "It's an incredible milestone for Hoops on Saturday evening in Brisbane and it's a testament to him as a person and a player," Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said on Thursday.

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    "We were really proud of the effort from our men last Sunday and we're well aware of the ferocity that a wounded Springboks outfit will bring to Suncorp Stadium."

    Rennie has elevated Nic White and Taniela Tupou to the starting side for the second Test against the Springboks.

    White replaces Tate McDermott and Tupou comes in for Allan Alaalatoa, while James Slipper returns to the starting line-up, though James O'Connor remains on the sidelines.

    Australia will be looking to claim consecutive Test wins in men's international rugby for the first time since October 2019 after a two-point win over South Africa – that was also the last time the Wallabies won a Test by more than three points.

    The Wallabies are undefeated in their last six men's Tests against South Africa on home soil (W5, D1); although, none of their five wins in that span have come by a margin of seven points or more on the day.

     

    Australia: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini.
    Replacements: Feleti Kaitu'u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia

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