Super Rugby: All Black Tyrel Lomax ready to score Hurricanes on dad’s pitch in Canberra NRL
Pacific Super Rugby: Hurricanes vs Brumbies
Or: GIO Stadium, Canberra
When: Sunday, 4 p.m.
Live: Sky Sport 1, live updates on Stuff.
Hurricanes manager Jason Holland expects All Blacks stalwart Tyrel Lomax to ‘shoot’ when he returns to a Canberra ground where his father became a cult hero.
The 26-year-old tight header will end the Hurricanes’ scrum against a Brumbies side boasting their free-kick in Sunday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash in Canberra.
The Brumbies play at GIO Stadium, the bush-lined stadium in Canberra where former Kiwis enforcer John Lomax played for the Raiders rugby league side from 1993 to 1996 and was part of their 1994 Championship side .
“I can’t wait for Loey to have some hit-ups like his old man,” Holland joked.
* Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs, Blues and Hurricanes deliver Australians a reality check
* Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes 30 Reds 17 in stunning comeback win
* Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes to meet injured Queensland Reds in Melbourne
* Jordie Barrett on his midfield change: ‘I think 12 is the most comfortable position for me’
Tyrel Lomax – a two-try hero in last week’s 30-17 win over the Reds – was born in Canberra in 1996, his father’s final year with the Raiders.
He began his senior rugby representative career there with the Canberra Vikings in 2015 before joining the Rebels Super Rugby team.
Lomax has since become an All Black – with 14 Test caps since 2018 – after moving to New Zealand where he played for the Hurricanes before joining the Hurricanes, near the heart of Lomax whānau in Wainuiomata.
Now he returns to Canberra for a potential clash with two loose-headed Wallabies veterans Scott Sio (starter) and James Slipper (bench).
Holland said Lomax is emerging as a key figure.
“The free kick is an integral part of their game. Defending the mauls is important to us, the scrum is important to us, and also the things that I think Loey does better than any other prop in the country, his ability to move on the pitch and making tackles.
“First and foremost, we have to have a really strong scrum, so we can hold the ball and put them under pressure.”
Lomax – 1.92m and 127kg – had a week off when his partner had a baby a fortnight ago but returned to start against the Reds.
He crashed for a try just before half-time and grabbed another shortly after the restart and Holland thinks he’ll be better against the Brumbies for that previous outing.
He – and the rest of the Hurricanes – will need to step up a gear against Dan McKellar’s men, the only Australian side to win the Super Rugby round in Melbourne.
“The Brumbies are a step up from the Reds in our eyes,” Holland said, citing their physicality, set-piece expertise and “pretty dynamic carriers” in the back row and in midfield.
He expects the Brumbies to be looking for another explosive start after sweeping the Highlanders in the first quarter last week.
Holland knows the Hurricanes need to respond better after conceding 17 first-half points to the Reds in “probably the poorest 30 minutes we’ve had all year”.
Poor discipline – a series of avoidable penalties and yellow cards to center Bailyn Sullivan (point tackle) and prop Pouri Rakete-Stones (high tackle) – cost the Canes dearly.
“When we don’t play well, or find we’re under pressure and don’t have the ball, we get unruly,” said Holland, who swore his players were determined to atone.
The Hurricanes’ offense – honed by full-backs coach Tyler Bleyendaal – is an obvious strength, but Holland said it hinged on “having the ball and being disciplined”.
Jackson Garden-Bachop, an impressive impact substitute against the Reds, got a start in the first five-eight in tandem with TJ Perenara, who relishes his duel with Wallabies half-back and Brumbies substitute skipper Nic White.
Holland was also able to retain Sullivan and Peter Umaga-Jensen as a central pair. They’ll meet Wallabies duo Irae Simone and Len Ikitau in a deadly showdown that could shake up early-season gusts off the distant Snowy Mountains.
Jordie Barrett’s second consecutive game at fullback may not do much for his second five-eighth All Blacks selection, but it will bolster the Hurricanes’ goal-line defense against carrier predation of Brumbies ball Darcy Swain, Rob Valetini and Jahrome Brown, the former Waikato third line.
There’s also no rest this week for Hurricanes workaholic captain Ardie Savea. Along with Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Brayden Iose and Reed Prinsep, Holland needs his All Blacks ace against Brumbies Valetini, Brown and Pete Samu.
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Bailyn Sullivan, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea (captain), Blake Gibson, TK Howden, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, James O’Reilly , Pouri Rakete Stones. Reservations: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafileo, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Jamie Booth, Aiden Morgan, Billy Proctor.
Brumbies: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Noah Lolesio, Nic White (captain), Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Caderyn Neville, Darcy Swain, Sefo Kautai, Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio. Reservations: Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Hudson Creighton, Ollie Sapsford.