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Brumbies beat Blues to stay in the hunt

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The Brumbies pulled off an unexpected win against the Blues on Saturday beating the Blues in Auckland by 11 points to 16.

 

The result was crucial for the Brumbies as it keeps them in the top eight teams entering the business end of the tournament.

The Brumbies were the first to score points in a match that only saw one try in each half which came when Christian Lealiifano dummied and dived for the line.


The Brumbies led for most of the match and caused themselves a lot to worry about in the last quarter by letting in the Blues one and only try with five minutes to go.


The result was a remarkable turnaround for the Brumbies, who pulled off their fourth win in eight matches a week after being thrashed 28-42 by the Chiefs.


Although they remain mid-table, they moved up to five points off the Blues, who cling to third place midway through the ninth round but who have a bye next week.


In a match that never achieved great heights and was marred by a high error count there was only one try apiece and the significant difference for the Brumbies was that they benefited from Blues ill-discipline.


Nine of their points came from penalties, including one when Blues captain Troy Flavell threw a punch in front of referee Jonathan Kaplan, who responded by reversing a penalty that had already been awarded to the Blues.


Another three points came from backchat by Blues backrower Nick Williams which saw Kaplan upgrade a free kick to a penalty.


It was the second successive loss for the Blues and their fourth of the season as their attacks around the ruck were stifled by George Smith and their backs succumbed to a suffocating defence.


Kaplan “was a bit trigger happy and I suppose you’ve got to play to that and we didn’t do that,” Flavell said.


“It just makes things a little harder for us. It doesn’t get any easier and the next three games are away from home.”


After the Brumbies weathered an opening Blues onslaught they bounced back with a penalty by Stirling Mortlock who then converted a try by flyhalf Christian Lealiifano to lead 10-0.


Blues flyhalf Nick Evans responded with his first penalty to narrow the gap to 3-10 at halftime.


Evans and Mortlock traded penalties early in the second half and Mark Gerrard kicked another for the Brumbies following Williams’s outburst to have the Brumbies ahead 16-6 seven minutes from time.


After trailing all through the game the Blues felt they had a chance of a late change of fortune when winger Rudi Wulf scored wide out with three minutes remaining to narrow the gap to six points.


Replays show that Ref Kaplan missed an obstruction which allowed the Blues to score the try.


But their hopes of a last-minute upset were dashed when further backchat saw them marched back by referee Kaplan, giving Gerrard a kickable penalty on the final whistle.


However, he missed, allowing the Blues to escape with a bonus point.


 Final Score Blues 11 Brumbies 16

 

Scorers

 

Blues 

Tries -Rudi Wulf

Pen – Nick Evans (2)

Con –

 

Brumbies

Tries – Christian Lealiifano

Pen – Stirling Mortlock (2),Mark Gerrard

Con – Stirling Mortlock

 

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Jonathon Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant Referees : Marius Jonker (South Africa), Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
TV Match Official : Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Reviewer/Perf. Auditor : Alan Riley (New Zealand)

 

Teams

 

Blues:

15 Isa Nacewa/Ben Atiga, 14 Anthony Tuitavake, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Lee, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Troy Flavell (captain), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Nick White, Bryn Evans, Justin Collins, Taniela Moa, Ben Atiga/one extra, David Smith.


Brumbies:


1.Nic Henderson,2.Saia Faingaa ,3.Guy Shepherdson ,4.Alister Campbell,5.Mark Chisholm ,6.Mitchell Chapman ,7.George Smith ,8.Julian Salvi ,9.Patrick Phibbs ,10.Christian Lealiifano ,11.Peter Playford ,12.Tyrone Smith ,13.Stirling Mortlock (c) ,14.Adam Ashley-Cooper ,15. Mark Gerrard


Reserves: 16.John Ulugia,17,Salesi Ma’afu ,18.Peter Kimlin ,19.Jone Tawake ,20.Joshua Holmes ,21.Matt Toomua ,22.Francis Fainifo ,23.Ben Alexander.

 

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