Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Blues triumph over Brumbies 18-12, keeping their slim play-off hopes alive

Reuters, WELLINGTON

The Brumbies’ Tevita Kuridrani, center, is tackled by the Blues’ Blake Gibson yesterday during their Round 10 Super Rugby match at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Australia.

Photo: EPA

The Blues kept their slim playoffs hopes alive yesterday with a tough 18-12 win over the Brumbies at GIO Canberra Stadium in Canberra, continuing New Zealand’s domination of Australia’s Super Rugby sides this year.

Bottom of the New Zealand conference, the Blues had tries from Matt Duffie, Akira Ioane and Melani Nanai, but kept the home side try-less to clinch their fourth win of the season.

The Brumbies slumped to their sixth loss and third in succession, but remain top of the weak Australian conference, with their lead trimmed after the second-placed New South Wales Waratahs beat the Queensland Reds on Saturday.

None of Australia’s five teams have registered a win over New Zealand opponents this season and while the Brumbies battled hard, they never truly threatened Tana Umaga’s Blues.

Needing a converted try to win after the final hooter, they went through a dozen phases in a desperate push towards the Blues’ line, but it all came to nought when captain Sam Carter fumbled a pass.

READ FRACTURES THUMB

New Zealand suffered a major blow to their preparations for the upcoming British and Irish Lions series when captain Kieran Read fractured his thumb in Super Rugby action on Saturday and was forced to undergo surgery.

The No. 8 sustained the fracture to the base of his right thumb in Canterbury Crusaders’ 48-21 victory over South Africa’s Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday and would be sidelined for about six weeks, the Super Rugby side said.

The 31-year-old is expected to lead the world champions in the highly-anticipated three-test series against the tourists, which begins with the first test in Auckland, New Zealand, on June 24.

“[It is] extremely disappointing for Kieran and the All Blacks,” Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan told New Zealand media. “The guy has worked so hard off the field to get his hand right from the surgery he had during the off-season and has been world class since returning to the field. Obviously it’s disappointing and will be concerning for the All Blacks.”

Read had surgery on his right wrist during the off season and only returned to Super Rugby against Japan’s Sunwolves on April 14.

He would have been looking forward to a few more outings with the Crusaders, including potentially the tour match against the Lions on June 10, before joining up with the All Blacks squad on June 11.

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