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'Bloody awesome' semi test awaits Brumbies

Fri, 10/06/2022, 6:55 am
AAP
by AAP
The Brumbies hosted the Hurricanes in the final quarter finals match of the round.

The Brumbies will have to defy history if they are to upset the Blues in their Super Rugby Pacific semi-final on Saturday.

No Australian side has ever won a playoff game in New Zealand since Super Rugby's inception in 1996, going 0-12 in those matches.

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The Brumbies haven't won at Saturday's venue - rugby cathedral Eden Park - since 2013 and have won just three of their 21 games in NZ since.

And Australia hasn't been represented in a decider since 2014, as the Brumbies look for their first title since 2004.

But the damning statistics have failed to rattle Allan Alaalatoa and his Brumbies crew, with the captain describing the opportunity to play in the near-sold out 50,000-seat stadium as "bloody awesome".

"Eden Park has been here since I was a kid watching footy, when I was playing PlayStation Two I was always picking this venue to play at with my cousins," Alaalatoa told reporters.

"Then you finally get to be out here, you just get that real international vibe.

"It's awesome for our young lads to be here because I know as a young rugby player you dream of playing at Eden Park."

From their 35-6 quarter-final win against the Highlanders, the Blues have swapped All Blacks with prop Nepo Laulala replacing Ofa Tu'ungafasi, while AJ Lam takes the injured Bryce Heem's spot on the wing.

But they'll have to again go without skipper Dalton Papali'i, who remains injured and could be done for the season.

The Brumbies, who've got No.8 Rob Valetini back in their line-up, are confident their 21-19 loss to the Blues a month ago shows they're ready to challenge the competition's best with everything to play for.

"There's a reason why we're here and we've got to back those reasons and back our gameplan, and just have full confidence and belief in ourselves," Alaalatoa said.

"We didn't want to overthink it again, we just wanted to make sure we learnt from the last game.

"Across the park, they've got threats everywhere, they've got strike power in their backline and back row as well.

"We're well aware of their threats, but it was more important getting confidence in the way we want to play, the boys are keen as."

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