Super Rugby: Hurricanes coach clears Trans-Tasman gap after costly Brumbies loss
Pragmatic coach Jason Holland admitted the Hurricanes blew their Trans-Tasman Super Rugby title hopes with a loss to the Brumbies, but is adamant any “gap” between the New Zealand and Australian teams has been overstated. .
The Hurricanes needed to score a bonus point in Canberra on Saturday night to stay on track for the tournament final, but the Brumbies earned their first 2021 series victory against a Kiwi team with a 12-10 victory.
Wasted opportunities – including two late penalty attempts from Jordie Barrett – left the Hurricanes stunned to consider a difficult final-round return to Wellington to meet the Reds.
Holland said the tournament format rewards consistency and the Hurricanes failed.
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“The team that does the best, the most consistently, will advance to the final,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to be consistent enough to cross the line tonight.”
Holland agreed with Captain Ardie Savea that the Hurricanes skidding was a bitter pill to swallow.
“Obviously we are overwhelmingly disappointed. It was vital for us to cross the line [on Saturday] to stay alive, really. So obviously it’s quite sickening and quite difficult to take right now. ”
Holland was quick to clear Barrett of all blame for his missed penalties, saying “Jordie is going to fight for a few kicks”, but the Hurricanes have had a number of test opportunities that “as a collective, we do not have a nail ”.
The second-year Hurricanes head coach expressed surprise when a 73rd-minute attempt to back Alex Fidow was ruled out when match officials ruled that captain Savea had struck before a penalty kick.
“I obviously don’t know the rules as well as the officials do, but I didn’t think you could go back to a reboot sooner,” Holland said, saying he didn’t know it was possible to ” come back to a shot before a penalty ”.
“But I’m going to have to go back and take a look and make sure I have the right rules because obviously the officials will know the rules.”
Holland has also had a retort to critics’ claims of a huge gap between the New Zealand and Australian teams and has given “100%” support for a Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition all season next year.
“I don’t think you’ve heard too many players and coaches [talking] around that gap, to be honest, ” he said in the post-match press conference. “I think it was you who blew up.
“It might have taken a week or two for the Australian teams to get back to it, but she’s ready for now. You can see from the results over the weekend, there were some really good matches. “
The Hurricanes knew it would be difficult to get a result against a Brumbies team who were “quite keen to come home and play in front of their fans” and were not surprised at the intensity, compared to the level of. test match by Australian commentators.
“And, we have the Reds next week and it will be absolutely no different,” Holland said.
He said the New Zealand and Australian teams “need each other to improve competition for fans, players and coaches.”
“It’s refreshing to start playing against Australian teams again. You are a little fed up with just watching the way the other four Kiwi teams play. ”
The Hurricanes started off with an attacking mindset, but the Brumbies scored the opening goal in the 12th minute thanks to Ryan Lonergan after his hooker brother Lachlan was caught on the line.
Dane Coles, who had a solid game with 15 tackles and 35m with the ball in hand, crashed for the Hurricanes five minutes later.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes, with flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi sentenced for a shoulder tackle on Brumbies lock Darcy Swain, who then failed his head injury assessment.
A fierce defense kept the Hurricanes understaffed in the chase, and a Barrett penalty gave them a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Midfielder Len Ikitau restored the Brumbies’ lead with a 52nd-minute try, but the Hurricanes couldn’t capitalize on their second chance.
“We were sloppy in some of our attacks and failed to seize some of our opportunities when the Brumbies were under pressure,” said Holland.
Lock James Blackwell (17 tackles) and flanker Devan Flanders (14) made big defensive changes for the Canes, while Julian Savea (55m) and Ngani Laumape (39) looked to take the ball to a defense. well trained Brumbies.