Planet Rugby

Brumbies shut down the Blues

04th April 2014 11:27

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Pat McCabe Brumbies v Blues SR 2014

The Brumbies celebrate Pat McCabe's first try

The Brumbies returned to the victory trail in style after beating the Blues 26-9 in terrible weather conditions Canberra on Friday.

After being heavily criticised for surrendering a lead before losing to the Rebels last weekend, the Brumbies dominated from start to finish in wet conditions.

The hosts struck first through Pat McCabe, whose direct approach brought him reward in the form of a deserved try. This after the Wallaby gathered the ball inside the Blues' 22 and steamrollered Simon Hickey before scoring under the posts.

Nic White slotted the conversion before Hickey partially made amends, for his earlier mistake, when he got his side's first points, via the kicking tee, two minutes later.

The Brumbies were in control for the rest of the half and their superior kicking game certainly had plenty to do with that. While the Blues opted to take the ball through the hands, the hosts played for territory through fine tactical kicking from White, Matt Toomua and Jesse Mogg.

And despite his impressive start, McCabe got even better as the game progressed. His hard running proved a handful for the visitors and he won his personal duel with his opposite number, All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu.

With rain pouring down, the Brumbies restricted play mostly to the forwards during the opening period and although the Blues tried their best, they found the going tough.

White added two further penalties in the 13th and 21st minutes before Hickey added his second three-pointer, on the stroke of half-time, which meant the Brumbies went into the break with a 13-6 lead.

After half-time, the Blues came out with more vigour, with captain Jerome Kaino leading from the front. They got the half's first points through another Hickey penalty in the 44th minute but for the rest of the match it was the hosts who stepped up a gear and continued where they left off at the interval.

Toomua didn't come out for the second half, due to injury, but his absence was hardly felt as fellow Wallaby Christian Lealiifano stepped in seamlessly as his replacement.

The Brumbies increased their lead in the 52nd minute when Lealiifano threw a long pass to McCabe who got in at the left-hand corner for his second try. This after the hosts drew in several defenders with pick-up-and goes and driving play from their forwards.

White missed the conversion, but four minutes later the home side were celebrating again when similar tactics saw Robbie Coleman crossing over in the same corner.

The Blues were under the cosh but, although they tried desperately to get back into the match, every effort was met by a solid defensive effort from the Brumbies.

Kaino's performance deserves special praise as there were times when he seemed to be taking on the Brumbies on his own. However, his team-mates didn't show the same determination, and courage, and it was not a surprise that they failed to add to their points tally.

As they were chasing the game, the Blues also conceded several penalties and Lealiifano added another three-pointer in the 70th minute.

Although the Brumbies didn't clinch a try-scoring bonus point, they can be proud of their performance, in trying conditions, while the visitors will certainly have to revisit their approach.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: McCabe 2, Coleman
Con: White
Pens: White 2, Lealiifano

For Blues:
Pens: Hickey 3

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Christian Lealiifano.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Jerome Kaino (c), 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Jordan Manihera, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Francis Saili, 23 Benji Marshall.

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)

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