What a game that is to close out the semi-finals of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific by a one-point difference at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ. ACT Brumbies didn’t waste any time getting it started in the first few minutes before the Blues responded well with two tries ahead of half-time, 20-7. Now the Brumbies began to hold back the Blues when a couple of ill-discipline from their end helped them close the gap later in the 2nd half, with credit from a couple of new faces off the bench, including, Lachlan Lonergan. The sweet revenge was almost sent to the Blues for payback that would’ve sent the Brumbies to Christchurch for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders via the drop goal. But Ofa’ Tu’ungafasi deflection off Noah Lolesio’s kicking boots, as well as a tougher defensive unit saved the day for the Blues with the win at home, 20-19.
Unlucky from the Brumbies who were just eliminated from the Final 4. They started off well in within the first couple of Montreal from Inside Centre Irae Simone in the No.12 shirt. The usual change of faces in the 2nd half have certainly helped them return in contention, especially with Lachlan Lonergan’s superb two-try performance from sub hooker that almost gave them a chance to overtake the Blues for the win in the dying seconds. Yes, it’s hard to watch if you’re a Brumbies fan when Noah Lolesio’s drop-goal attempt was blocked by Ofa Tu’ungafasi where the ball eventually went into Blues’ hands that confirmed their spot for next Saturday’s final at home v Crusaders. Unfortunately, an inconsistent 1st half spell left them a lot of pressure to get the job done before a robust Blues defense sent them the final message which was too late.
And congratulations to the Blues with the win on home turf at Eden Park in Auckland. They responded really well to the Brumbies’ early headstart where the Blues put in an excellent first-half display; Credit to Hoskins Sotutu & Mark Telea with the tries alongside Stephen Perofeta begins the kicking tee towards the goal posts. Yes, there were a couple of disciplinary issues later in the 2nd half when the Blues couldn’t extend their winning share, as well as leaking a couple of tries – that almost got their ticket stolen by the Brumbies at the last minute for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders. But they hung in there tough right until the final hooter where their robust and desperate defense gave the Blues and its home supporters a sign of relief. As long as the Blues watch their discipline, there’s no doubt they can run the Saders ragged en route towards another Super Rugby championship with a mix of talented and big-name stars in their squad.
90 matches done, one to go with the Final to close out the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at Eden Park in Auckland next Saturday at 5pm AEST.