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Blues up first in fortnight that could make or break Brumbies’ season

By AAP
Corey Toole of the Brumbies celebrates a try with team mates during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Highlanders at GIO Stadium, on May 14, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

It’s the fortnight that could make or break the ACT Brumbies’ Super Rugby Pacific season.

An away trip to Auckland to face the Blues, before returning home to host the league-leading Crusaders seven days later.

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Wins, particularly one at the Eden Park fortress, could set the Brumbies on course for a top-two finish and a potential home semi-final as they seek to make their first trans-Tasman decider since 2013.

Even the ever-balanced Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham admitted there was a degree more weight put on the importance of performances in the next fortnight to send a message to the rest of the competition.

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“It certainly would (build confidence), but you don’t want to fall into the trap of getting complacent,” he said.

“This is our first challenge … the top-of-the-table New Zealand teams two weeks in a row is a tough challenge.

“We’ll look for our performance first, and if the results come our way then we’ll know we’re on track in terms of the way that we prepared.

“If they haven’t, then we’ll change a few things into next week.”

A win this weekend would require snapping their Eden Park hoodoo, with the Brumbies having failed to beat the Blues at the venue since 2013.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
4
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
28
18
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
60%

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The Blues have been an absolute buzz-saw at Eden Park against Australian teams, winning their past 10 encounters by an average margin of 26 points.

The hosts also have a trio of handy inclusions, with All Blacks superstar winger Mark Telea joined by lock Patrick Tuipulotu and centre Bryce Heem back in the side.

“Traditionally it’s probably the hardest game of the season whenever you have to play at Eden Park,” Larkham said.

“Since Super Rugby started they’ve always been a good team, they’re close to the top of the table … they’ve been playing some amazing footy, so this will be our biggest challenge so far.”

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