x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Blues come alive in the second half to overpower Brumbies

The Auckland Blues score four second-half tries as they come from behind to beat the CA Brumbies 39-34 in the Super 14 series.

The Auckland Blues scored four second-half tries as they came from behind to beat the CA Brumbies 39-34 in a Super 14 match yesterday. Centre Rene Ranger scored one try and created two others, including the first of a pair for the All Blacks winger Joe Rokocoko, as the Blues came from 16-10 down. "I feel very proud today," said the Auckland captain Keven Mealamu, who played his 100th Super match.

"The boys played out of their skins. What a crowd, what a way to top it off, what a good win. "I thought the boys would be a bit shocked after the first half and to shrug that off and come back and score a few tries at the start of the second half showed the character of this team." "We knew they were going to challenge our offensive line, which they did," said the Brumbies' coach, Andy Friend. Ranger's try, Rokocoko's second and efforts from Benson Stanley saw the Blues run in 26 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half to decide the game.

There are four more games today, with second-placed Cape Town Stormers hosting the Free State Cheetahs. Allister Coetzee, the Stormers coach, will play Gio Aplon on the right wing ahead of Sireli Naqelevuki, who will start on the substitutes' bench despite a fine performance against the Wellington Hurricanes last Saturday. "Three weeks ago Gio was the best No 14 around here," said Coetzee. "Then he had a bout of flu and it's only right for him to have his place back."

Tim Whitehead will start at inside centre in place of the injured Juan de Jongh. akunawicz@thenational.ae