Cape Town - All Black centre Ngani Laumape made a triumphant return home with a hat-trick of tries as the Hurricanes demolished the Brumbies 43-13 in Palmerston North on Friday.
As it happened: Hurricanes v Brumbies
Laumape, who grew up in the North Island regional town, ran riot as the Hurricanes scored six tries to two, with skipper Dane Coles contributing a brace.
All Black pivot Beauden Barrett also made an eye-catching first appearance for the season, kicking six of seven chances.
Coles said the Hurricanes were determined to bounce back after a heavy loss to the reigning champions Canterbury Crusaders last week.
"From the start we turned up and really played our game," he said.
"We worked hard all week, had a bit of soul searching, and I'm just really pleased with the attitude the boys showed tonight."
The result was a reality check for the Brumbies, who entered the match on a high after stunning the Chiefs 54-17 last week.
"Things can turn really quickly in this competition and we came up against a really good Hurricanes side," captain Christian Lealiifano said.
"They put us under pressure and we made some crucial mistakes and weren't able to recover."
The match remained scoreless for the first 12 minutes until Brumbies lock Rory Arnold accidentally batted the ball directly into Coles' path for an intercept try.
Laumape added a second two minutes later after a run from debutant fullback Chase Tiatia.
The Brumbies stayed in touch with a trademark try from a lineout drive completed by hooker Folau Fainga'a.
They piled on the pressure and but the Hurricanes held on despite conceding a string of penalties and hit back with a second try for Coles.
The skipper launched the attack with a dummy pass before TJ Perenara took the ball from Laumape and sent a backhanded flick to Coles, who had an open tryline in front of him.
Not to be outdone, Laumape crossed for his second shortly after half-time, sending two defenders sprawling as he powered to the line.
His third was more speed than strength, with Laumape taking off from deep within his own half and outpacing a pack of three Brumbies defenders before dotting down between the posts.
The visitors' hopes of a comeback were dealt a blow when David Pocock was sinbinned for an early tackle on TJ Perenara.
They still managed a try through former NRL player Tom Wright, who scored just moments after coming off the bench.
But Hurricanes lock James Blackwell added another intercept try on full time to complete the rout.
The Hurricanes picked up a full-house of five points to move top of the New Zealand Conference and into second place in the Overall log.
The Brumbies left empty-handed, but stayed top of the Australian Conference and third in the Overall standings.
In next weekend's Round 4 action, the Hurricanes host the Highlanders in Wellington (Friday, March 8 at 08:35 SA time), while the Brumbies are on the road again, this time in Melbourne to face the Rebels (Friday, March 8 at 10:45 SA time).
Tries: Dane Coles (2), Ngani Laumape (3),
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3), Jackson
Tries: Folau Fainga'a, Tom Wright
Penalty: Christian Lealiifano
15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Wes Goosen
15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 David Pocock, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leauluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Tom Wright