9 Jul 2016

Blues thump Brumbies at home

10:57 pm on 9 July 2016

Jerome Kaino and Matt Duffie scored two tries each for the Blues as they compromised the Super Rugby playoff chances of the Brumbies with a 40-15 rout of the Australian conference leaders.

Flanker Jerome Kaino and fellow All Blacks Patrick Tuipulotu, and Ofa Tu’ungafasi return to the Blues lineup.

Flanker Jerome Kaino and fellow All Blacks Patrick Tuipulotu, and Ofa Tu’ungafasi return to the Blues lineup. Photo: Photosport

The Blues are already out of playoff contention but dealt a hefty blow to the post-season hopes of the Brumbies, who are tied on 39 points with Australian rivals the New South Wales Waratahs.

The hammering they dealt out underlined the gulf in quality between the two trans-Tasman Sea conferences this year with the Blues the worst side in New Zealand and yet on 35 points with seven wins.

The home side's good start - converted tries from flanker Kaino and captain James Parsons inside the first seven minutes - was undone almost immediately when Kaino was shown a yellow card for deliberately collapsing a rolling maul.

Referee Ben O'Keeffe also awarded a penalty try for the infringement, but the Blues continued to chance their arm and exploit space while a man down and scored two more unanswered tries through prop Sam Prattley and Matt Duffie.

The Brumbies, whose attacking game is based on building phases, slowed the game down to starve the Blues of ball in the second quarter of the game and O'Keeffe issued a succession of penalties.

Centre Matt Toomua grabbed their second try following another rolling maul from an attacking lineout before flyhalf Christian Lealiifano added a penalty to his earlier conversion to narrow the gap to 28-15 at the break.

Kaino grabbed his second try shortly after halftime as the Blues finally managed to hold onto the ball but neither side was able to move the scoreboard for the next 30 minutes.

Replacement Blues back Matt Vaega then had a try disallowed upon review by the television referee when Duffie was found to have placed a foot in touch before his pass back in field.

Duffie, however, made up with it with his second try with eight minutes remaining as the hosts hammered home their advantage and got just rewards for their attacking intent.

The Waratahs host the Wellington Hurricanes on Saturday, while the Brumbies play the cellar-dwelling Western Force in their final match of the regular season in Canberra next week.