Second Half blitz help Blues beat Brumbies

Mar 19 • International • 1812 Views • Comments Off on Second Half blitz help Blues beat Brumbies

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Keven Mealamu Photo Getty Images

Keven Mealamu Photo Getty Images

A second half blitz from the Blues was just enough to see them home 39-34 against the Brumbies in a free-running, hard-tackling Super 14 rugby match at Eden Park in Auckland tonight.

The win was a perfect result for skipper and All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu, who was celebrating his 100th game for the Blues in a career that has spanned eight years since his debut for the Chiefs in 2002.

However, the chances of a win for Mealamu didn’t look too good early on.

Handling errors were proving costly, and with the Blues conceding too much ball at the breakdown, the Brumbies looked in control at halftime with a 16-10 lead.

But the Blues came out firing in the second spell, running in four superb tries in the space of just 12 minutes, then holding out the Brumbies with some equally impressive defence to close the game down.

The Blues were in familiar territory at the first whistle, short on possession, defending their line and with handling errors letting them down when they did get the ball in hand.

So it was not surprising the Brumbies drew first blood.

Their scrum was rock solid and, coupled with some speedy recycling of the ball through the phases, they kept the Blues on the back foot and were rewarded in the 10th minute when prop Salesi Ma’afu was driven over after a quick tap.

Matt Giteau added the extras, and the Brumbies looked poised to continue the form which had seen them with four wins from five starts going into tonight’s game.

However, the Blues maintained composure and built some pressure of their own as they gradually gained some parity in possession and territory.

With Rene Ranger finding space and running strongly in the centres, the gaps started opening up, and it was a Ranger off-load from a typical bullocking run which found wing Joe Rokocoko on his shoulder.

The All Blacks winger dotted down between the posts, Stephen Brett added the conversion to an earlier penalty for the Blues to draw even at 10-10 and it was only the boot of Giteau which gave the Brumbies a six-point lead at halftime.

But the Brumbies were rocked barely two minutes into the second half when Ranger crossed, followed in quick succession by Benson Stanley, Rokocoko – after a pinpoint kick from Brett – and Isaia Toeava, returning at fullback after a hip injury.

Tries to Huia Edmonds, in the 60th minute, and Patrick Phibbs in the 77th, kept the Brumbies in touch, but Brett showed coolness in the closing minutes to sink the dropped goal that sealed the win.

– NZPA

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