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Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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An all-Kiwi affair in Tens finale

By Ben Smith

A classic rivalry will be renewed as a young Blues side have made their way into the final on the back of a 22-10 victory over the Reds and the Hurricanes completed a turnaround over the Crusaders in the Brisbane Tens semi-finals.

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The Reds started the day winless but managed to win their last pool game against the Wild Knights and qualify for the quarterfinals. They upset the favoured Chiefs 19-7 with two controversial tries given to the home side. Going in at halftime the game was locked at 7-apiece, but the Reds ran away with it.

The Reds scored early against the Blues in the semi-final with an intercept try to young fullback Jayden Ngamanu but it was all the Blues from that point on. Jordan Trainor made a long break from halfway before feeding halfback Sam Nock on the inside to spark the Blues revival.

Jordan Olsen scored the second after Nock made a decent break from the scrum base before Kurt Eckland scored a decisive third for the Blues down a short-side play close to the line. Hooker Andrew Ready hit back for the Reds before Dalton Papalii put it beyond doubt at 22-10.

The Hurricanes managed to hold out in a high-scoring affair against the Waratahs after taking a 28-7 lead with eight minutes to go. Naiyarovovo led the comeback with an intercept and set up another before a Malo Tuitama try sealed a 35-26 victory.

The Hurricanes continued their form into the semi-final where they opened the scoring with Jamie Booth following an Alex Fidow break. The Crusaders hit back with a try to George Bridge before another try to Jamie Booth who pounced on a loose pass and kicked ahead to score. Stout defence by the Canes held their 14-5 lead going into the sheds.

Manasa Mataele scored midway through the second stanza following a poor kick option inside the Crusaders 22 by the Hurricanes. Mataele raced away to put the Crusaders within striking distance down 14-10 but they couldn’t find a way through. The Hurricanes were particularly impressive at disrupting their lineout.

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The Hurricanes and Blues will meet in the final at 8 pm local time.

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