Blues bundle out Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues bundle out Brumbies

By Melissa Woods 17/05/2003 07:37:40 PM Comments (0)

The ACT Brumbies' hopes of a fourth successive Super 12 rugby final appearance crashed as the Blues stormed to a 42-21 victory at Eden Park.

Trailing 22-0 at halftime, the Brumbies ran in three second half tries but were unable to make up the difference on the rampaging Blues, who will host the Crusaders in next Saturday's final.

The Blues, who have only been beaten once this season, last played in the Super 12 final in 1998, when they lost 20-13 to the defending champion Crusaders.

While the Brumbies battled bravely, they missed the flair of injured playmakers Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau.

Test backrower Owen Finegan, playing his third game in his comeback from shoulder surgery, was responsible for almost getting ACT back into the match.

Coming on at halftime for Tamaiti Horua, the bullocking Finegan made an immediate impact, giving his backs more space as he drew Blues defenders with his midfield charges.

Centre Joel Wilson was the first to benefit from that extra room, crossing for the Brumbies' first try when he ran off a pinpoint pass from fullback Joe Roff.

Nine minutes into the second half, Finegan crashed over for his own try, although he was forced off for a short time, dazed from his effort.

The Blues' relentless attack continued, with centre Mils Muliaina the next across the line as he left the Brumbies defence grasping at thin air.

Mark Bartholomeusz, who was shifted from the wing to five-eighth following Larkham and Giteau's withdrawal, had a solid game in his new position and was rewarded with a try in the 61st minute to close the gap to 30-21.

However, exciting Blues winger Joe Rokocoko grabbed his second of the night, before fullback Doug Howlett touched down to seal the win for his side.

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