Brumbies down Blues in the wet
May 25, 2013
Brumbies flanker Colby Faingaa makes a break against the Blues in Auckland © Getty Images
The Brumbies survived a late Blues fightback in treacherously wet conditions to claim a 20-13 win in Auckland on Saturday and secure their place at the top of the Australian conference
It was a scrappy, desperate game at Eden Park, the Brumbies only just coming out on top courtesy of their early domination of the scrum and ill-discipline from the Blues. Handling errors were so numerous between the two teams in the wet weather that the total scrum time sucked more than 20 minutes out of the match.
Elsewhere, the Western Force added some much-needed gloss on their campaign by heaping woe on fellow strugglers the Highlanders with a narrow 19-18 victory in their clash in Perth. In a match dominated by the boot, the Highlanders hit the lead in the 77th minute when five-eighth Colin Slade nailed a 51-metre penalty. But Hayward had the final laugh against his former side, making no mistake with his 79th-minute attempt from 24m out on a slight angle.
On Friday, the Chiefs dispatched New Zealand rivals the Crusaders 28-19 in Waikato to cement their place at the top of the New Zealand conference. Aaron Cruden got the scoreboard ticking over for the home side after 11 minutes as he charged down Dan Carter's clearance kick and dotted the ball down. In total, the Chiefs ran in three tries with Craig Clarke and Bundee Aki also grabbing scores. Cruden also added a further 13 points from the tee to help the Waikato-franchise to their victory. For the Crusaders, Tom Taylor knocked over 14 points with Matt Todd scoring their try.
Melbourne Rebels put a serious dent in the Waratahs' surge towards the finals with a surprise 24-22 victory on Friday night. The Rebels finally got a taste of victory against the Stormers last round, following a series of close defeats, and made it two from two at AAMI Park with their first-ever win over New South Wales. Winger Jason English was the toast of Melbourne as he bagged their two tries of the game - the second proving to be the one that clinched the match. Jason Woodward also shone for the Rebels as he slotted 14 points from the tee.
For the Waratahs, the defeat will come as a huge blow but Australia coach Robbie Deans will have been impressed by Berrick Barnes' showing with the versatile back slotting 14 points for the 'Tahs. Israel Folau grabbed their sole try of the match in the 35th minute with Brendan McKibbin kicking a 67th minute penalty to bring up their 22-point total.
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