Brumbies fall to the Blues in Auckland

Fri, Jun 14, 2024, 8:30 AM
Cadeyrn Neville of the Brumbies during his Semi-Final match against the Blues.
Cadeyrn Neville of the Brumbies during his Semi-Final match against the Blues.

The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies have fallen to the Blues 34-20 to the in Auckland on Friday night in a physical Semi Final match, completing their Super Rugby Pacific season in 2024.

Fighting hard in a brutal Grand Final Qualifier, the Brumbies pushed the Blues for a tough match, however an impressive opening 20 minutes from the home side would just prove the difference.

The visiting side would not get a warm welcome to Auckland as Blues midfielder AJ Lam found an early ball near the right sideline for the opening try of the match, after the home side would push through more than 10 phases close to the line. With an unsuccessful conversion attempt, the Blues would lead 5-0 after two minutes of play.

In the 6th minute Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio would launch his sides counterattack through a penalty goal giving the visitors some early presence on the scoreboard taking the score to 5-3.

However, the Blues did not take kindly to Lolesio's first penalty goal as the would rebuttal quickly in the eighth minute they would launch a rolling maul close to the Brumbies line, which would prove successful as hooker Ricky Riccitelli nabbed the second try of the match. Converted by Harry Plummer the Auckland side would lead 12-3 eight minutes of play.

Doing their best to gain some territory, the Brumbies would then be given another penalty 40 metres out, which Lolesio would opt to promptly put through the sticks bringing the score to 12-6.

Off the restart, the Blues would get straight back into their work as the home side would pick and drive through plenty of phases until Sam Darry would finally crack the Brumbies defence for the third try of the match in the 14th minute. Maximising the points, Plummer converted once again bringing the scoreline to 19-6.

Completing their first quarter frenzy, Caleb Clarke would score for the Blues in the 20th minute as the home side shifted the ball from sideline to sideline creating space for the winger to stroll in for the fourth try of the match.

The Brumbies would get their first try of the match through Rob Valentini individual brilliance showing off his pure strength as a pick and drive from the big number six would pay dividends with a five-pointer in the 36th minute. Converted by Noah Lolesio, the Brumbies would get themselves back into the chase.

On the verge of the halftime break the Blues were awarded a penalty, which Plummer saw as an opportunity to extend his sides' lead to 27-13, concluding the opening 40.

Opening the second half with intensity on both sides of the ball, the Brumbies would go back and forth with the Blues for territory for the first 17 minutes in the second half.

In the 58th minute however the Blues would strike once again through Hoskins Sotutu being in the right place at the right time as a loose ball close to the Brumbies line would land in the number eights lap giving an opportunity for the sixth try of the match. With 21 minutes remaining in the match the score would be locked at 34-13 presenting the Brumbies with an uphill battle.

Playing their toughest rugby right until the final whistle, Luke Reimer would manage a try in the 70th minute after a wide shift to Andy Muirhead would get agonisingly close to the white line, before bench forward Reimer summed up the opportunity nicely with a try to the right of the posts pushing through a scrambling Blues defence. Converting the five-pointer was Lolesio once again, bringing the score too 34-20 with 10 minutes remaining.

Auckland Blues 34 (Tries: AJ Lam, Ricky Riccitelli, Sam Darry, Caleb Clarke; Conversions Harry Plummer 2; Penalty Goals: Harry Plummer 3) def. Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies 20 (Tries: Rob Valentini, Luke Reimer; Conversions: Noah Lolesio 2; Penalty Goals: Noah Lolesio 2)

Siokapesi Palu: Converting the family to gold jerseys
Tania Naden training for the Wallaroos at the AIS, photo by Jack Rowley.
Five Brumbies named for Wallaroos to take on the Black Ferns
Charlie Cale will make his first start for the Wallabies. Source: Getty Images
Cale confirmed to start; Slipper to lead Wallabies
Australia U20s denied semi-final spot after clash with Ireland cancelled