The Brumbies have made up for last weeks loss to the Rebels with a strong 26-9 win over the Blues in Canberra.
In a night where the conditions were tough after continuous rain throughout the day, the Brumbies scored three tries against the leading try scorers of the competition so far, whilst holding the Blues to just three penalty goals.
Pat McCabe was the star for the Brumbies with two tries in the victory for the locals.
The Blues had the early share of the ball and were gaining metres slowly through pick and drive in the wet conditions but were unable to come up with any points despite some good field position.
The Brumbies took their first chance with the ball inside the Blues 22 and Pat McCabe steamed through a Simon Hickey tackle to score the opening try of the night.
The Blues were able to hit back straight from the restart with the Brumbies offside and Simon Hickey opened the Blues account to make it 7-3.
Nic White extended the Brumbies lead with his first penalty of the night following a rolling maul down the left hand touchline.
The Blues had a chance to reduce the gap, however Hickey’s shot from 45 metres fell just under the bar.
On the 20 minute mark the Brumbies had a great chance to add more points after the Blues took the ball dead with Hickey taking the pass with his feet over the dead ball line.
From the resulting scrum, the Brumbies received a penalty and Nic White added the three points to make their lead 10 points.
For the rest of the half, the game turned into ‘forcings back’ that the Blues were going to struggle with coming up against the likes of Jesse Mogg.
With the half almost up, the Blues had a chance to score their opening try after winger Tevita Li picked up a loose ball and was brought down just short of the line. The Brumbies defence scrambled and were able to get a relieving penalty.
From that, the Brumbies tried to run down the clock and ended up being penalised and Hickey stepped up to land his second penalty of the night and make the scores 13-6 at half time.
The second half opened with three straight penalties against the Brumbies and referee Rohan Hoffmann issuing a warning to captain Ben Mowen. Hickey took the simple shot to make the score 13-9.
Matt Toomua was replaced by Christian Lealiifano at the break and he started to get the backline moving in just his second Super Rugby match back from ankle surgery.
The Brumbies attacked the Blues through the forwards and eventually the ball ended up in the hands of Pat McCabe on the end of a backline move to score his second try of the night.
Shortly after the Brumbies had their third try of the night with winger Robbie Coleman scoring his sixth try of the season after the TMO had a look to make the score 23-9 with a quarter of the match remaining.
The Blues finally had a great attacking chance with a five metre scrum after the Brumbies were unable to clean up a grubber kick but great work from Jordan Smiler at the breakdown shut down that chance.
With ten minutes remaining, Lealiifano added another penalty for the Brumbies to keep the Blues at arms length at 26-9 and give the Brumbies a chance at securing the bonus point try.
Neither side could add to the score in the remaining minutes although the Blues went very close but knocked the ball on right on the line. Both teams did attempt some razzle dazzle after the full time siren in attempt to score further points. The win is crucial for the Brumbies with the Queensland Reds in Brisbane up next on Friday.
The Game Changer
2 Brumbies tries within five minutes in the second half kept the Blues at bay.
Pat McCabe was making some great runs in the tough conditions and bagged 2 tries.
Nic White’s kicking was crucial in the tricky conditions.
Score & Scorers
Tries: McCabe 2, Coleman
Penalties: White 2, Lealiifano
Penalties: Hickey 3
Cards & Citings
Photos by Michael Thompson