VIDEO: Blues thump Brumbies in Auckland
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN REPORT: The Blues climbed back to the top of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman standings after they thumped the Brumbies 38-10 at Eden Park on Saturday.
The home side outscored their opponents by five tries to one during the 80 minutes to secure a bonus point.
It is the Blues’ third win in a row, while the Brumbies will head back to Australia still without a win in the tournament.
Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney scored from a Brumbies maul to turn a period of dominance into a 10-7 lead with five minutes to play in the first half at Eden Park.
But they went to the break down 17-10, a penalty after a sloppy restart followed by a weaving try to Finlay Christie that exposed some flaky defence close to the line.
The Blues didn’t give Dan McKellar’s men a sniff in the second half, AJ Lam’s try with 20 minutes to play creating a 31-10 lead before Folau Fainga’a was yellow-carded after continuous Brumbies infringements.
Scrumhalf Nic White completed a successful return from injury, engineering a crafty assault of the short-priced favourites in the first half.
They played close to the lines to expose the Blues’ line-out and build momentum from their scrum.
That helped the Brumbies overcome an opening try to the Blues that came after a head-scratching line-out penalty that had everyone confused.
But the Brumbies then allowed the red-headed Christie to duck and dive between five Brumbies close to the line, the visitors finished with 31 missed tackles as the Blues also dominated the breakdown.
“He looked like a ginger running from the sun looking for shade,” Blues captain Tom Robinson told the broadcast post-game.
“He’s such an awesome dude and it was a huge moment; that little win there got us that momentum.
“In the first half we let them in through what we call dumb-arse penalties … and we sorted them out in the second half.”
It completed a tough slog of three games across the Tasman since their gutting loss to the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU Final.
Man of the match: Blues scrumhalf Finlay Christie was the star of the show. His distribution was excellent and he defended like a man possessed. He also scored one of the tries of the season.
Tries: Eklund, Christie, Heem, Lam, Faiane
Cons: Black 4, Plummer
Yellow card: Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies, 71 -collapsing the maul)
Blues: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson (captain), 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Mark Telea.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 Mack Hansen
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe & Lauren Jenner
TMO: Glenn Newman
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