Brumbies blow past Hurricanes in Wellington
Hurricanes 25 Brumbies 37
Elementary ... rookie flyhalf Zack Holmes of the Brumbies scores a try. Photo: Getty Images
The Brumbies have pulled off another epic Super Rugby victory to strengthen their position at the head of the Australian conference.
The Brumbies overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to wind up 37-25 winners in Wellington on Friday.
In a tight tussle, Jake White's side were down 25-16 late in the third quarter before piling on the last three tries of the night for a memorable bonus-point victory.
It comes as a huge confidence-booster for the Brumbies, who had not won in Wellington since 2003, and they extended their lead atop the Australian conference to 44 points.
That's 13 points ahead of the Reds, who play the Lions in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Hurricanes looked headed towards victory after scoring two tries after halftime, but gave the visitors a sniff with Andre Taylor and Beauden Barrett both missing their conversions.
Lock Sam Carter started the three-try avalanche in the 55th minute after receiving the ball from lock partner Scott Fardy, who had made an eye-catching line break.
The Brumbies' attack never faltered and after repeated assaults on the Canes' line, Michael Hooper was the beneficiary in the 61st minute to give them back the lead for the first time since the first half.
Zack Holmes, making his run-on debut for the season at No.10 following a season-ending injury to Christian Lealiifano, put in an impressive performance under the spotlight.
He put the icing on the cake for the visitors by slipping past three Hurricanes players for the Brumbies' fourth - and bonus-point - try with 12 minutes to go before the bell.
Holmes also converted his own try, along with three others, and made three from four penalties to score 17 points off his own boot on debut as goalkicker.
Captain Ben Mowen paid due credit to the young playmaker, but said the whole squad had done well in fighting from behind.
"I said to them, when we're down, just be patient because we are going to get points," he told Fox Sports.
"We were fortunate enough that we scrambled hard and didn't give away more points than we did."
The Hurricanes don't go away empty handed - their four tries gives them a bonus point of their own - not that it placated skipper Conrad Smith.
"It's not much of a bonus," he said.
"We've just got to play better.
"We just made a lot of mistakes."
The game had started ominously for the Hurricanes, who were down 10-0 early when big No.8 Fotu Auelua crashed his way over from close range for the first try of the night and Holmes converted.
But in windy and drizzling conditions at Westpac Stadium, the Brumbies lost their momentum when they began making fundamental errors in their own half - and it cost them.
JP Perenara scored a first try for the Hurricanes in the 16th minute shortly after the Brumbies were pinged for offside, while a poor line-out eventually gave Victor Vito his chance.
He crashed over directly under the sticks in the 28th minute, with Taylor's conversion putting the Hurricanes in front 15-13.
BRUMBIES 37 (Fotu Auelua, Sam Carter, Zack Holmes, Michael Hooper tries Holmes 4 cons 3 pens) bt HURRICANES 25 (TJ Perenara 2, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Victor Vito tries Andre Taylor con pen) at Westpac Stadium. Referee: Mark Lawrence.