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Super Rugby: Brumbies brush Auckland Blues aside at the Canberra Stadium
The Brumbies bounced back from defeat with an authoritative 26-9 victory over the Blues at the Canberra Stadium on Friday.
A Pat McCabe brace and a Robbie Coleman try were enough to see the Brumbies to a comfortable win over the Aucklanders, a week after their shock reverse to the Melbourne Rebels.
Brumbies centre McCabe crossed either side of the break, before Coleman extended the lead just before the hour as the hosts condemned the Blues to a fourth successive away defeat.
Brumbies took the lead on seven minutes as McCabe thrust his way over the line with a fine display of pace and power.
The Wallaby centre initiated the move as he stormed into the Blues 22 before slicing his way past Simon Hickey and over the whitewash a few phases later, leaving Nic White to slot home a simple conversion.
Blues fly-half Hickey responded moments later as he bisected the uprights with his first penalty of the evening, before White restored the seven-point Brumbies lead with a three-pointer of his own.
As the rain continued to fall in the Australian capital, White further extended the Brumbies lead after the Blues scrum was penalised on their own five-metre line.
Brumbies scrum-half White could have given the hosts a 13-point lead but his fourth attempt from the tee, just inside opposition territory, drifted wide of the posts.
Blues winger Tevita Li made a late surge on the left flank, which was initially repelled by the Brumbies, before an infringement at the breakdown allowed Hickey to reduce the deficit to 13-6 at the break.
Sir John Kirwan’s side made a much more assertive start to the second period as Ma’a Nonu and Li both threatened to break the Brumbies line, before Hickey struck the first points of the half with a straightforward penalty.
The Brumbies response was brisk as they rattled their way through the phases before Jesse Mogg launched a wide pass into path of McCabe who dove over for his second try of the night, although White was unable to convert from the left touchline.
Laurie Fisher’s side remained in the ascendancy and, with the Blues pressed on the back foot, the inevitable came in the form of Coleman’s sixth try of the season as the winger slid over from close range.
White’s conversion attempt rattled the woodwork before falling back into play, but a 14-point margin left the Brumbies in a comfortable position with 25 minutes on the clock.
Brumbies replacement Christian Lealiifano assumed kicking duties and made no mistakes with his first attempt as the lead stretched to 17 points.
Kirwan’s side thought they had a consolation try when replacement hooker James Parsons touched down with seconds left on the clock, only for the TMO to spot a knock-on with the aid of a replay.
Victory temporarily moves the Brumbies four points clear of third-place Chiefs, who face the bottom side Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday and hold a game in hand over the Australian conference leaders.