Hapless Hurricanes taken to the cleaners in Canberra by ACT Brumbies

They might've looked a million bucks on their reality TV show, but the Hurricanes weren't worth much when it counted in Canberra on Friday night.

Last year's Super Rugby finalists were decidedly second-rate in being beaten 52-10 by the Brumbies at GIO Stadium.

Yes the Brumbies are a fine side and, no, it wouldn't be a shock if they emerged as the best of Australia's franchises this season. But the Hurricanes are meant to be a good team too and their loyal fans would've been entitled to expect more from the team in their first match of 2016.

No area of their game appeared particularly polished or effective and they now have a bit of work to do. Their next opponent is not a bad one either, in the form of 2015 champions the Highanders.

There was never any punch to the Hurricanes' running in Canberra, while the less said about some of their decision making and execution on defence the better.

Not that referee Andrew Lees helped. Plenty of refs punt when it comes to scrum penalties and Lees proved no exception.

The Hurricanes were not playing like a particularly well-drilled or cohesive side, but Lees' fondness for penalising tighthead prop Jeff To'omaga-Allen in the first half proved troublesome. They'd begun the game by shunting the Brumbies off their own ball but, from then on, Lees let the scrums deteriorate and then decided To'omaga-Allen was responsible.

That cost the Hurricanes on both attack and defence and started to make keeping the big No.3 out there a luxury. Once a referee starts paying special attention to a prop, he's almost better off being subbed.

The option-taking and goal kicking of Beauden Barrett left a bit to be desired too. The first five-eighth seemed determined to dink the ball in behind the Brumbies, when keeping it in hand might've been better.

Barrett only missed the one first-half kick at goal, but it came at 10-3 when three points could've changed a bit of the momentu

Instead, after conceding a try to centre Tevita Kuridrani, the Hurricanes let Tomas Cubelli and David Pocock cross. The Pocock try was particularly well-taken, coming from a lineout move that followed a penalty against To'omaga-Allen.

At 24-3 down after 38 minutes, it was hard to see how the Hurricanes had any hope of getting themselves back into the match.

They immediately went 31-3 down, when Scott Fardy wriggled over. Whether Fardy actually forced the ball was debatable; what's certain was the build-up from the Brumbies was very impressive.

Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder provided a moment of hope, when he returned a kick expertly and gave debutant Ngani Laumape a 40-metre sprint to score his first Hurricanes try. Barrett's conversion made it 31-10 with 30 minutes left to play.

Chris Eves was now on for To'omaga-Allen but Lees was still seeing the same things, as another scrum penalty enabled Stephen Moore to score a converted try from the resulting lineout drive.

After that it was a bit of a procession, as tries Josh Mann-Rea and Sam Carter pushed the Brumbies past the 50 mark.

The Hurricanes will be better for the run. Frankly, they'll need to be.

ACT Brumbies 52 (Tevita Kuridrani, Tomas Cubelli, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Stephen Moore, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter tries; Christian Leali'ifano pen, 7 con) Hurricanes 10 (Ngani Laumape try; Beauden Barrett pen). HT: 24-3.