BRISBANE 10s: Blues steal gold
They snatched a 10-7 win with a late score in the Final again the Hurricanes.
George Moala stole the title from the Hurricanes at the death, scoring a stirring individual try after the siren to claim victory for the Blues.
It was a moment that added spice to an otherwise dour grand final, in which defence was the star of the show.
The Canes led for 16 minutes, Alex Fidow putting them in front early after a clever line-out variation in which the rest of the pack shuffled forward as he slipped towards the five metre mark, took a short throw and barged over.
Unfortunately, that was the high point of the first term, as both sides scrapped their way through the remaining six minutes.
The second half wasn't much better, Akira Ioane putting the Blues within a try when he scored with three to play before Moala's miraculous effort after the siren stole the show.
Having been awarded a scrum five out from the Canes line, Moala took on two defenders and was brought to ground one metre out, only to get to his feet, release the ball and force his way over to score an incredible winner.
* The fairytale run of the Reds ended in the SEMIFINALS.
The Blues proved too clinical in booking a Final berth.
Jayden Ngamanu set Suncorp alight early, plucking an intercept and running 75 metres to score under the sticks.
The Blues hit back with ferocity, Sam Nock touching down with a long range effort of his own to put Auckland up 7-5 with four minutes on the clock.
Daugunu saved a certain Blues try to Jordan Trainor three minutes later and Teti Tela forced a penalty at the breakdown from the ruck that followed.
That gave the Reds prime position but it was the Reds that took advantage, Jordan Olsen dancing his way through some woeful tackles from JP Smith and Harry Hockings to put the Blues up 12-5 at the break.
Another relatively soft try was scored by Kurt three minutes into the second term and that set the Reds a sizeable task, trailing 17-5 with the rain still falling.
Andrew Ready did his part when he burrowed over with four minutes to play but the Blues sealed the result with a try in the final minute.
* In the other SEMIFINAL a Jamie Booth double inside the first six minutes put the Hurricanes on the front foot, the Crusaders crossing through George Bridge for their solitary first term try.
The Canes took a 14-5 lead into the break but it was the Crusaders that struck first after the break, setting up a grandstand finish when Manasa Mataele scored.
But a last gasp effort to force their way into the grand final was not a fruitful venture, the Canes cleaning up a loose ball in their own half and booting it into touch, setting up a showdown with the Blues.
Blues 22 Reds 10
Crusaders 10 Hurricanes 14
* Earlier in the PRELIMINARY PLAY-OFFS a stellar Reds performance has lit up Suncorp Stadium and booked their spot in the semi-finals, beating the Chiefs for the first Australian win over a Kiwi side this weekend.
The home side set up shop inside the Chiefs 22 for the first five minutes of the opening term but after Taniela Tupou spilled the ball, the Chiefs went 80 metres to score the opening try through Solomon Alaimano.
Samu Kerevi put an enormous shot on to save the Reds going down two scores and up the other end, Angus Blyth scored after Hamish Stewart cleaned up a loose ball just inside Chiefs territory.
The Hurricanes squared the Australia-New Zealand ledger in the preliminary play-offs, beating the Waratahs to book a semifinal showdown with the Crusaders.
The Waratahs crossed for an early five pointer through Alex Newsome after Tolu Latu picked off an intercept but the Canes returned serve with four unanswered tries.
It took until halfway through the second term for the Tahs to strike back with another intercept, Taqele Naiyaravoro plucking a pass on halfway and racing away to give his side a hope trailing 28-14 with five to play.
Mitch Short scored the Waratahs' third to put them within seven points with three to play but when wildcard Drew Mitchell was hammered and coughed up the ball, Malo Tuitama scored to put the result beyond doubt in the penultimate minute of play.
Preliminary play-off results:
Reds 19 Chiefs 7
Hurricanes 35 Waratahs 26
All the pool results:
Wild Knights 19 Rebels 17
Blues 29 Reds 7
Blues 47 Wild Knights 10
Rebels 21 Reds 17
Reds 38 Wild Knights 7
Blues 29 Rebels 7
Waratahs 31 Pau 10
Chiefs 17 Highlanders 12
Highlanders 12 Waratahs 10
Chiefs 31 Pau 7
Pau 22 Highlanders 7
Chiefs 15 Waratahs 12
Brumbies 17 Fiji 12
Crusaders 22 Hurricanes 0
Hurricanes 12 Fiji 5
Brumbies 7 Crusaders 31
Crusaders 17 Fiji 0
Hurricanes 12 Brumbies 10