SYDNEY (REUTERS) - ACT Brumbies laid down a marker to the rest of Super Rugby with a 52-10 demolition of last year's losing finalists the Wellington Hurricanes in their season-opener at Canberra Oval on Friday.
The Brumbies, who had the meanest defence in the competition last year, all but shut down the high octane Hurricanes attack and ran in seven tries to earn a bonus point and a small measure of revenge for their semi-final defeat last season.
Centre Tevita Kuridrani, debutant Argentina scrum-half Tomas Cubelli and Wallabies openside flanker David Pocock all crossed to help the hosts race to a 24-3 half-time lead.
Blindside Scott Fardy, skipper Stephen Moore, his replacement as hooker Josh Mann-Rea and lock Sam Carter drove home the advantage after the break with fly-half Christian Lealiifano converting all seven and adding a penalty to boot.
Only livewire All Blacks full-back Nehe Milner-Skudder managed to break the shackles and his searing return of a Matt Toomua kick set up Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape for a try on debut eight minutes after the break.
After a season in which the catch-and-drive was their main offensive weapon, Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham had promised a more imaginative approach to their attack this season.
His team certainly responded and from the alertness of Cubelli's effort from the base of a five-metre scrum to the neat training ground move that got Pocock over from an attacking lineout, the Brumbies bristled with ideas.
Fardy's 46th minute score was probably the pick of the bunch, the pack rumbling a rolling maul over halfway before rampaging winger Henry Speight charged to the try line and the loose forward picked up the ball to score from an ensuing ruck.
Even yellow cards for Toomua and Pocock in the last 20 minutes were not enough for the Hurricanes, who lost only two regular season matches last year, to get back into the contest.