Brumbies pants pulled down in ugly record loss

Brumbies pants pulled down in ugly record loss

By Sam Worthington with AP

Hands up if you saw that coming?

The second placed Blues destroyed the third placed Brumbies 46-7 on Saturday night in what All Blacks great Justin Marshall described as a “demolition job.”

It was also a record – the previous heaviest Brumbies loss to the Blues was a 38-10 defeat in 2021.

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“We just got physically dominated the whole game really,” Brumbies captain Ryan Lonergan said after the Super Rugby Pacific clash at Eden Park.

“We had no go forward in attack and we couldn’t seem to slow their ball down at all, or their momentum in defence.

“We had a few opportunities in that first 20 minutes and we couldn’t convert them into points and it was all downhill from there.

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“We had a similar sort of feeling after the Chiefs game earlier in the season. So disappointing to roll out a similar performance. A big week of review and then move on nice and fast and get ready for the Canes.”

Hoskins Sotutu scored two tries in a match that highlighted a gulf between the top New Zealand and Australian teams.

After an indecisive first 10 minutes, the Blues simply overwhelmed their opponents in wet and slippery conditions.

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After a day of torrential rain in Auckland, the match seemed likely to become a kicking contest.

Instead, the Blues kept the ball in hand and the Brumbies, who are the best of Australia’s teams, couldn’t compete against big ball runners like No.8 Sotutu and winger Caleb Clarke.

By halftime, the Blues had scored three tries including Sotutu’s double and the Brumbies had been forced to make four times as many tackles as their opponents.

Sotutu is the top try scorer after nine rounds of the tournament with eight.

The second half didn’t get any easier.

The Blues scored within five minutes of the restart, then twice more inside the third quarter as the Brumbies frittered away their share of possession through poor handling.

“I think from the beginning of the season we’ve been building a lot, and coming out of the bye week we had to pick up where we left off,” Sotutu said.

“We know that we can play the carry, clean game really well and we knew with the weather it was going to be a strong point.”

The Brumbies should have scored in the sixth minute when winger Ollie Sapsford was given space in a one on one with his Blues marker but was tackled.

Blues halfback Taufa Funaki was sinbinned in the course of the movement but, in a turning point in the match, Sotutu scored his first try while the Blues were down a man.

Clarke ran off his left wing to score as first receiver from a five metre scrum in the 32nd minute, then Sotutu completed his double just before halftime and after a period of chaos for the Brumbies.

Sapsford knocked on a kick from Cole Forbes in front of his own goal line.

The Brumbies defended the scrum but after winning a goal line dropout, five-eighth Noah Lolesio put the ball out on the full, giving the Blues another scrum from which Sotutu scored.

The Blues led 24-0 at halftime and kept up the pressure in the second half, helped by a yellow card in the 50th minute to veteran Brumbies prop James Slipper.

Flanker Dalton Papalii and hooker Ricky Riccitelli scored from lineout drives after penalties as the Blues lead expanded to 41-0.

The Brumbies finally got on the board with Luke Reimer’s 64th minute try.

Replacement hooker Kurt Eklund scored the last of the Blues tries just before fulltime.

Earlier in the weekend, the Hurricanes stretched their winning start to the season to eight games with a 38-15 win over the Fijian Drua, the Queensland Reds blanked the Highlanders 31-0 and the Western Force beat the Crusaders 37-15.

It was the first win by the Force over the Crusaders in 11 years.

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