New Zealand’s stranglehold on the Tremendous Rugby Pacific will proceed for one more yr after the Blues snuffed out the hopes of the remaining Australian facet, beating the Brumbies 20-19 at Eden Park.
The Brumbies took a 7-0 lead after three minutes solely to concede the subsequent 20 factors earlier than staging a courageous second-half fightback.
Two rolling-maul tries for Brumbies’ substitute hooker Lachie Longergan created a grandstand end, with flyhalf Noah Lolesio having a drop purpose charged down within the recreation’s dying seconds.
It clears the trail for the Blues to host the Crusaders within the last subsequent weekend, whereas it was a thirteenth unsuccessful try by an Australian facet to win a playoff recreation in New Zealand.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett was in impeccable contact, continuously creating alternatives for the Blues whereas flawless in defence and working for 99m.
The Brumbies made a flying begin with centre Irae Simone bursting by means of the Blues’ line off the again of a scrum and working 40m to attain simply for 7-0 lead.
The Blues discovered their toes with two penalties and dragged the rating again to 7-6, their backs catching hearth and mixing brilliantly to discover a strive for Hoskins Sotutu on 24 minutes.
Barrett seemed unstoppable and jinked his manner round a number of Brumbies defenders earlier than creating a possibility for Mark Telea to attain for 20-7, and solely the crossbar denied the flyhalf a long-bomb drop purpose on halftime.
Blues’ hooker Kurt Eklund was sin-binned for a dumping sort out on Andy Muirhead and the Brumbies tried to make instant use of the person benefit by means of Tom Banks, however Barrett was as soon as once more available to ship a try-saving sort out within the nook.
The Brumbies affected person, highly effective rolling maul lastly broke the road with Lachie Lonergan diving over on the hour, whereas just some elite desperation from Tom Wright denied Barrett a Blues’ strive instantly after.
Looking to scale back the deficit, Brumbies’ substitute Sosefo Kautai pressured a penalty on the breakdown they usually repeatedly threatened the road off the again of their maul, though staunch Blues’ defence one way or the other stored the margin at greater than a transformed strive.
In an exciting end, Lonergan barged over for his second strive on 77 minutes, with Noah Lolesio’s conversion slicing the Blues’ lead to a degree.
However he could not seal the take care of the next drop purpose try.
Whereas the Blues had been dominant in most areas, they had been completely brutal on the scrum and their pack pressured 4 penalties.
They struggled with self-discipline within the second half, conceding eight penalties to 4 they usually had been maybe fortunate to not obtain a yellow card for the repeated fouling.