The final Super Rugby match of Round 10 is in the Australian Capital city of Canberra where the Brumbies host Auckland’s Blues.
The Brumbies lead the Australian Conference on 17 points after 8 matches. In those eight matches, the Brumbies have won three – the same as the Blues.
The Brumbies have played the Blues 22 times in Super Rugby and they have won 9 matches and lost 13.
No Australian side has beaten New Zealand opposition this season but, the Kiwis have a poor away record, winning four of their past 34 matches on their travels; three coming from across the Tasman Sea.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
BEEP! BEEP! The Blues start the final fixture of the weekend.
2.00: The Blues will have the first scrum inside the Brumbies’ 22. The weather is glorious and Gio Stadium is bathed in sunshine – very unusual for Canberra.
4.00: The blues take the ball 15 phases but make no inroads into the Brumbies defence. The Aussies made all their first-time tackles and the Kiwis could not get through, eventually, knocking forward at the breakdown.
6.00: Former Blues prop Nic Mayhew wins the turnover but the visitors turn the ball over and go wide. It’s another multiphase play by the New Zealanders and they are camped inside the Brumbies’ 22.
8.00: Mayhew makes another steal but, this time, he loses it forward and the Blues will have the scrum feed inside the 22. The Brumbies cannot clear their lines.
9.00: The pack weights are pretty even; the Brumbies are in at 904kg and the Blues, 911kg. the scrum is reset.
11.00: Wharenui Hawera is penalised for being offside. The Blues have been inside the Brumbies’ 22 for 11 minutes – similar to the Lions against the Stormers a few weeks back. They will take the points.
12.00: PENALTY! Bryn Gatland puts the visitors in front.
13.00: A scuffle breaks out and the Blues have possession.
14.00: The Brumbies win a turnover and have a lineout inside the Blues’ half.
15.00: The go wide and Henry Speight takes a crash ball. Akira Ioane is penalised for going off his feet. He did not support his body weight and Hawera will call for the tee.
16.00: PENALTY! The standoff makes no mistake, levelling the scores at 3-3.
18.00: Speight knocks on near the sideline. The Brumbies are going wide, trying to create one-on-one match-ups. The scrum is between the 22 and the 10 inside Brumbies territory.
20.00: The Brumbies win another penalty after Nick Briant catches Gatland offsides. Sam Carter points to the poles.
21.00: MISS! Hawera pushes his kick past the left upright; poor kick.
23.00: The Brumbies get pinged for a dangerous tackle and the Blues kick to touch. The lineout is 12 metres from the goal line.
24.00: Matt Duffie! Wow! The winger – with an acrobatic placement – is just out. 22 restart.
26.00: The Blues are on the front foot, deep inside the Brumbies’ 22. Sonny Bill Williams loses the ball forward. Great defence from Andrew Smith.
28.00: Hawera clears. The Blues take it quickly and some aerial ping-pong ensues.
29.00: Speight loses the ball forward and the visitors will have the scrum feed. It’s near the sideline, 30 metres out from the Brumbies’ try-line.
31.00: TRY Matt Duffie! It’s good this time from the wing. The Blues go wide and George Moala stays upright in the contact and gets his offload to Duffie. It’s the ex-Melbourne Storm player’s fifth try of the campaign.
32.00: MISS! Gatland can’t add the touchline conversion but the Blues lead just before the break.
33.00: Hawera loses the ball and the Blues will have a scrum on centre-field.
35.00: Scrum is reset. And the Brumbies win a short-arm penalty. They opt for another scrum.
37.00: Joe Powell breaks to his right and sends Tom Banks through a gap. The fullback carries the ball into the Blues’ 22 and offloads to Speight in support, but the winger loses the ball forward; his third handling error of the half.
38.00: Piers Francis kicks the ball out after Augustine Pulu brought it back into the 22. Lineout to the Brumbies in good field position.
40.00: The hooter sounds and Banks knocks the ball forward right under the posts. The Brumbies went a dozen phases but had a penalty advantage. They kick to touch and have the lineout, five metres out.
41.00: It’s held up in the maul and the Blues survive a late scare. Poor call by the Australians. Take the points. BEEP! BEEP!
The half-time score at GIO Stadium was Brumbies 3 Blues 8
The Blues have spent 5 minutes 53 seconds inside the Brumbies’ 22. The hosts, 2 minutes 50. The territory and possession are 65 percent in favour of the visitors.
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! Wharenui Hawera restarts the second half.
43.00: The Brumbies win a penalty after Scott Scrafton is caught infringing at the breakdown. Hawera will kick at goal.
44.00: PENALTY! Hawera reduces the deficit to two points. Makes you wonder why they did not take the points at the end of the first half; they would be in the lead.
45.00: Akira Ioane with some great work at the breakdown. The No 8 made the tackle, got up and won the penalty after Tevita Kuridrani did not release.
48.00: Nic Mayhew wins the ball at the back of a maul and the Brumbies release the pressure. They are up to halfway and get the scrum feed.
50.00: The Brumbies cannot break the Blues’ defence and Speight kicks a little grubber into touch. The half-time stats had the Brumbies making 79 tackles to 27, missing 17 to the tourists’ one.
51.00: That might be a big factor going into the final quarter; the Kiwis are renowned for the fitness and extra gears in the last 20 minutes.
52.00: Charlie Faumuina is penalised at the ruck and Hawera opts for poles.
52.00: PENALTY! It’s good from the standoff and the Brumbies are in front.
54.00: The Blues go seven phases and pull the Brumbies from right to left and back again. The ball is lost in touch.
55.00: TRY Akira Ioane! His second of the season. It came from the line-out and rolling maul. Well executed by the Blues forwards. They are back in front.
56.00: MISS! Bryn Gatland misses from the sideline.
58.00: The Brumbies lose the ball forward inside the Blues’ 22. They had great go-forward ball but, their handling lets them down. Scrum on the 22.
59.00: A poor clearance gives the hosts another shot with a lineout 20 metres out.
61.00: The Brumbies are up to a dozen phases and have a penalty advantage. Nick Briant wants a talk with Augustine Pulu. He’s not happy about some discipline around the breakdown. Hawera calls for the tee.
62.00: PENALTY! Hawera kicks his fourth penalty goal of the afternoon and the gap is back to one point.
64.00: The Blues are on the attack. some quick offloading sees them enter the Brumbies 22 but George Moala leaves the pass behind and the hosts clear.
65.00: Jarrad Butler is penalised for holding. The Blues kick to touch and set up a driving maul from five metres out.
66.00: The Brumbies are offsides and the Blues will take a scrum in a central position inside the 22.
67.00: It’s another penalty, this time for collapsing. Next one will surely be a card. Scrum again.
68.00: TRY Melani Nanai! Augustine Pulu collects from Steven Luatua and flings a floated pass to Matt Duffie. The winger draws Aidan Toua and passes back on his inside to the supporting Nanai. Great try from the first-phase ball.
69.00: MISS! The conversion is wide.
71.00: The Brumbies need to dig deep here. time is running out and they need to score a try if they are to break the Australian drought against Kiwi opposition, which stands at 14 losses, this season.
74.00: The Blues win a penalty and clear their lines.
78.00: The Blues have gone 18 phases as they look to see off the Brumbies. Great control by the Kiwis.
79.00: WAIT! The Brumbies win a penalty and kick to touch. The hooter sounds; what can they conjure?
81.00: The Brumbies go through the phases and – OH NO! Sam Carter, the skipper, loses the ball inside the Blues’ 22. That was a schoolboy mistake. Game over.
BEEP! BEEP! Full-time.
The full-time score is Brumbies 12 (3) Blues 18 (8)
Pen – Hawera (4)
Tries – Duffie, A. Ioane, Nanai
Pen – Gatland
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1: Ed Martin
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Aidan Toua.
15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Leighton Price, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Melani Nanai