Fast Start Powers Auckland Blues Into Super Rugby Final

Fast start powers Auckland Blues into Super Rugby final

Wellington, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Jun, 2024) The Auckland Blues booked their place in the Super Rugby final with a bruising 34-20 win Friday over the ACT Brumbies after crashing over for four early tries.

The hosts blew the Brumbies away early in the semi-final at Eden Park with the Blues' first try coming after just two minutes.

The Auckland side will discover their opponents in the final after the Wellington Hurricanes host the Waikato Chiefs on Saturday.

"Credit to the Brumbies, they are a tough Aussie team. We always expect a Test-match calibre game against them," said Blues captain Dalton Papali'i, who went off with a head injury late in the match.

"It was a physical game, both teams will be hurting after that one."

The Brumbies' defeat extends the miserable away record of Australian teams, who have never won a Super Rugby knock-out game in New Zealand.

The visitors suffered a double blow before kick-off when Australia prop James Slipper and lock Tom Hooper dropped out after the warm-up.

The four quick tries inside the first 21 minutes put the Blues in firm control.

Their forwards battered the Brumbies line from the kick-off before the ball was moved wide for centre AJ Lam to cross for the opening try.

The home pack maintained the pressure as Blues hooker Ricky Riccitelli, then lock Sam Darry were driven over for tries.

With Brumbies defenders sucked in, the Blues crossed again when a long ball to Caleb Clarke gave the All Blacks winger a simple run-in.

The Brumbies gave themselves hope before the half-time whistle when loose forward Rob Valetini powered over for a try, sandwiched between two penalties by Noah Lolesio to make it 27-13 at the break.

The Blues were forced to defend hard for the first 20 minutes of the second half as the Brumbies fought back, until Number 8 Hoskins Sotutu crashed over for the hosts' fifth try.

The Brumbies kept attacking, but the defence held firm with the Blues pack soaking up the pressure by forcing turnovers.

With the defence finally stretched, Brumbies replacement forward Luke Reimer barged over to trim the score to 34-20.

The visitors played with 14 men for the last 10 minutes when Brumbies lock Nick Frost was sent to the sin bin for tackling Clarke in the air.

"It slipped away from us at the start, we weren't clinical at our end, they made us pay with tries," said Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa.

"It's a tough lesson for us that in finals, especially against the Blues at their home stadium, you can't give them that lead."