Hurricanes roar into Super Rugby final

The Hurricanes are one win away from their maiden Super Rugby title after steamrolling the Brumbies 29-9 in a one-sided semi-final.

The final score didn’t do justice to a dominant performance from a home side who scored four unanswered tries to book their first ever home final on Saturday next week.

Their opponents will be the Waratahs or Highlanders, who were to contest the second semi-final in Sydney.

Beating the Hurricanes in Wellington will be a handful given the nature of their high-tempo performance on Saturday.

Coming off a bye as competition top-qualifiers, they played with verve throughout, running and off-loading with a heady mix of muscle and precision.

The Brumbies struggled to slow the speed of ball from the breakdown and only resolute defence stopped the scoreline blowing out.

The trip from Cape Town, where they thumped the Stormers 39-19 in the qualifying final a week ago, seemed to drain the energy from the visitors, who made little impression on attack.

The likes of the Savea brothers – Julian and Ardie – inside centre Ma’a Nonu and wing Nehe Milner-Skudder ran amok at times against a defensive line often out of alignment because of the speed of the attack.

But a concern for the Hurricanes will be the injuries that forced Milner-Skudder from the field at halftime and Ardie Savea soon afterwards.

Also, first five-eighth Beauden Barrett ceded the goalkicking duties in the second half, suggesting a knee injury is still bothering him.

A halftime lead of 12-3 didn’t reflect the Hurricanes’ dominance of nearly every statistical box, most notably with ball in hand. They forced the Brumbies to miss 26 tackles compared to their own figure of four.

The dam finally burst in the 21st minute when All Blacks wing Julian Savea flattened Brumbies halfback Nic White to score in the corner following a wave of attacks.

Perenara has made an art form of backing up breaks by his team-mates and was on hand to score his 11th try of the season after another sizzling Milner-Skudder run from 60 metres out.

Fullback Jesse Mogg kept the Brumbies in contention with a penalty on the stroke of halftime.

However, the visitors faced a mountain when Ardie Savea crossed from a lineout drive three minutes after the break.

The Brumbies’ best chance to cross the tryline fell to Montpellier-bound Mogg soon afterwards but the ball wouldn’t bounce for him after a slick chip and chase put him clear.

Fly-half Christian Lealiifano slotted two penalties to reduce the scoreline to 19-9 but a penalty to fullback James Marshall and long-range try to replacement wing Matt Proctor following a Nonu bust made the outcome safe.

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