Blues beat Brumbies in Auckland



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Fullback Isa Nacewa scored a try among 16 points as the Auckland Blues beat the ACT Brumbies 26-15 in a Super 14 rugby match Saturday. Tries to flanker Troy Flavell and center Anthony Tuitavake helped the Blues to an 18-0 halftime lead and Nacewa’s 61st-minute try clinched an exciting match but left them short of a four-try bonus point. He added 11 points from a conversion and three penalties.

The Brumbies scored their first try through winger Clyde Rathbone in the 49th minute and another to replacement Joel Wilson minutes before fulltime, but left Eden Park without even the consolation of bonus point.

Auckland dominated the match through set pieces, putting intense pressure on the Brumbies’ scrum and plundering possession from their lineout.

That set-piece advantage brought giant loose forwards Flavell and Nick Williams into the game and they were able to set up a supply of quick possession from rucks.

Fast ball off the ground enabled the Auckland backs to run at the Brumbies defense and players such as Tuitavake and Nacewa created holes if not always tries. Turnovers from the Brumbies also enabled the Blues to counter attack and to keep steady pressure on an organized but stretched defense.

“We concentrated a little bit more on set pieces this week,” said Blues captain Keven Mealamu.

“We’ve been trying to sort our set pieces out and provide better balls for the backs and it worked today. If we can do that consistently, this is what we can get.

“The last few matches we’ve led at halftime but today it was just a matter of controlling the game and finishing off.” The Brumbies competed well in a match played at pace and at a high skill level. They also created breaches in the defense through inside backs Stephen Larkham and Gene Fairbanks but couldn’t always finish.

Handling errors let them down and they weren’t always able to defend their own loose ball against Auckland’s marauding back rowers.

“I think all credit goes to the Blues,” said Brumbies captain Stirling Mortlock.

“We had a lot of opportunities in first 25 minutes and unfortunately didn’t capitalize. Two times we crossed their line and two times tries were disallowed. If we had capitalized it could have been a different ballgame.

“The Blues scored tries from our turnovers. That’s the style they like to play and we let them play that way.”

Auckland Blues 26 (Troy Flavell, Anthony Tuitavake, Isa Nacewa tries; Nacewa conversion, 3 penalties),

ACT Brumbies 15 (Clyde Rathbone, Joel Wilson tries; Mark Gerrard conversion; Stirling Mortlock penalty).

Source : Sapa-AP /ah

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