Well everyone, the cold evening in Wellington froze the Brumbies up a little and this was just what the Hurricanes needed in order to get revenge on the team who booted them out of the 2022 competition. With a close half-time score of 17-14, it was anyone's game at that point, but the psychological edge proved poignant for the home team, who ran away with a 5-point victory of 32-27.
With the defence across the competition still a concern for viewers though, there are some mixed talking points to discuss post-game. Let's read through the Hurricanes from jersey number 1 through to number 23 and see how they all performed!
HURRICANES PLAYER RATINGS:
Jordie Barrett's on-field calmness has not been present recently, especially with defences pressing up in his face. The phenomenon of his instincts from 12 has been explored in a recent YouTube upload of mine.
Loosehead Prop - Xavier Numia (8/10)
Although he dealt with some cramps in the game, Numia played on for 56 minutes and showed the battle scars to prove a strong effort. 5 carries in open space saw Numia go for 22 metres and 3 defenders beaten, while he contributed value in the scrum and 9/10 tackles.
Hooker - Asafo Aumua (8/10)
Just as I was about to name Aumua as Player of the Match, I picked up on 3/6 tackles. Aside from that shocker though, it was one heck of a game for him. 96 metres run, 4 defenders beaten, 2 clean breaks, 6 carries, 2 passes and 1 offload is immense for a hooker. Let's just hope Ian Foster's mandate for strong defence won't harm Aumua's World Cup hopes.
Tighthead Prop - Tyrel Lomax (7/10)
Easily the least flashy of his pack, but proved himself in the areas that have seen him start for the All Blacks. Made 16 metres off just 4 carries, his single pass was on the money for Rayasi, while 7/9 tackles, a dominant scrum and 1 turnover are all part of the prop life.
Lock 4 - James Blackwell (No rating)
Blackwell failed an HIA after being subbed off in the 6th minute so won't be rated. Get well soon.
Lock 5 - Isaia Walker-Leawere (7/10)
Returned from injury and did all the basics right. Will be pleased with his 9/10 tackles, 6 passes and two stolen lineouts. Walker-Leawere added some decent touches to the attack as well, 19 metres from 9 carries were hard-earned in the spaces he ran.
Blindside Flanker - Devan Flanders (9/10)
Cruised over for the team's opening try, before ending the game having played 53 minutes at lock. His 8 other carries were busy for 20 metres with ball-in-hand, while he was the only starting loose forward not to miss a tackle.
Openside Flanker - Du'Plessis Kirifi (8/10)
Nothing too flashy, just hard work on and off the ball. Kirifi was the team's top tackler, amassing 12 to go with his 2 turnovers. Ran 26 metres off 7 carries, made 6 passes and would have certainly lowered the Brumbies' tackle percentage by running at side-on defenders.
Number 8 - Ardie Savea (9/10)
Daring to suggest Savea won't capitalise on a 73% tackle rate is certainly daft. His 52 metres, 3 defenders beaten, 1 clean break, 10 carries and 9 passes will give the Brumbies nightmares for sure, while 8/10 tackles and 1 turnover were up to par with his usual efforts.
Halfback - Cam Roigard (7/10)
While this match didn't reach the same heights Roigard has hit all season, it certainly didn't damage his reputation. Snuck over for an easy try, while combining with Morgan to organise an elite attack structure. 1/3 tackles will be disappointing, though 1 turnover will keep the All Blacks selectors' eyes on his performances.
First Five - Aidan Morgan (9/10)
For the first time in my entire period of viewing Hurricanes matches, they had a multi-dimensional attack that was created from playing off 10, this was reflected very much by Morgan's stat sheet of 1 try, 94 metres, 3 defenders beaten, 14 carries, 26 passes, 3/4 tackles and 1 turnover. Two dodgy kicks keep him from rating as a 10/10.
Left Wing - Salesi Rayasi (4/10)
Rayasi will always be drawn into "should be an All Black conversations" as he's a quick player, but can't seem to get rid of bad habits in his game. While his 12 carries became 79 metres, his 10 passes were once again, unnecessary, while a 5/9 tackle rate is frustrating to see too.
Second Five - Jordie Barrett (4/10)
As I said in a recent YouTube upload, Barrett clearly isn't a centre. Much of his 15 passes were 50-50 plays, one of which were close to costing a try. Barrett's open-play kicking was only really damaging from deep, indicating a fullback's instincts. The on-field calmness we saw from Barrett in the 2021 season at fullback, plus earlier this year, isn't there anymore.
Centre - Peter Umaga-Jensen (5/10)
Damaged the Brumbies' defence with his 49 metres and 1 defender beaten off 8 carries, but is yet to return to his best after a long period of injury layoffs. Umaga-Jensen may be disappointed with a 3/5 tackle rate, but will be glad to be back in the game.
Right Wing - Julian Savea (6/10)
Was starved of ball, only getting to touch it 11 times in his 150th Hurricanes match. Savea's 5 carries and 6 passes were still useful in the effort though, he'll especially be glad to have run 43 metres, beaten 2 defenders and managed a clean break. 2/3 tackles was his end result.
Fullback - Josh Moorby (8/10)
The local fans will be fawning over Moorby's 120 metres, 5 defenders beaten and 1 clean break off 13 carries, but I for one, I'm really impressed with his defensive improvements. His tackle rate was 4/5 and included a certain try-saver, while 1 turnover was nice to see.
Reserve Hooker - Jacob Devery (No rating)
Came on for Flanders, rather than Aumua, with just 3 minutes to go. Devery won't be rated but it's brilliant to see him back from injury.
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Tevita Mafileo (6/10)
Can be thanked for a stellar scrum that lead to a penalty attempt for Jordie Barrett, while his ruck speed assisted with the lower error rate in the second half. Mafileo ran 4 metres off his only carry and completed his lone tackle attempt.
Reserve Tighthead Prop - Owen Franks (7/10)
Provided a very similar impact off the bench to Mafileo, making scrum time much harder for his opposition. Is getting to his feet much quicker and looks much trimmer these days and it's provided a big hand in a classy finish to Franks' career, should he hang the boots up this year. Also made 2 metres from 4 carries and 3/3 tackles.
Reserve Lock - Caleb Delany (7/10)
The big man's return from injury was sooner than expected, coming on for Blackwell in the 6th minute. Delany was injured again in the 32nd minute however, significantly weakening the team's lineout. Made 4 passes, 6/6 tackles and hit rucks with authority while on the field.
Reserve Loose Forward - Brayden Iose (5/10)
Nothing too flashy, just came on to do the basics and provided the goods in a shortened lineout. Managed 13 metres and 2 defenders beaten off 5 carries, but didn't have a pretty outing on defence, for a rate of 6/9 tackles. Taken care of at the breakdown.
Reserve Halfback - Jamie Booth (No rating)
Played for the last 17 minutes off the bench but aside from winning a turnover, Booth didn't produce enough to give a proper rating.
Reserve Utility Back - Harry Godfrey (No rating)
Godfrey replaced Rayasi to play the last 3 minutes at 15, so won't be rated as he didn't get to touch the ball.
Reserve Outside Back - Kini Naholo (6/10)
Played in the unexpected position of centre for his 16-minute cameo off the bench, but will have probably done enough to retain his spot next week courtesy of an excellently-worked linebreak into the Brumbies' half. Should have got more ball.