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Patrick Tuipulotu reveals game plan for Brumbies made Blues 'nervous'

By Ned Lester
Blues coach Vern Cotter. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

The Blues dispatched the 3rd-place Brumbies at Eden Park over the weekend with a historic winning margin of 46-7, leading head coach Vern Cotter to praise his team’s adaptability.


The Auckland team have been doubling down on their hard-hitting phase play game plan in 2024, utilising dominant ball carriers like Akira Ioane and Hoskins Sotutu to get over the gain line.

Against the Brumbies, another forward-centric team, Cotter issued a challenge to his side to beat the Australian heavyweights at their own game.

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“It’s a little bit different and about being able to adapt to each situation, each time and prepare well,” Cotter said following the win.

“We surprised them, and we got through a yellow card without too much damage to us around that.

“We had to deal with that, and the guys did well. They kept composed and under pressure, but they managed to get out. And when Taufa (Funaki) came back, we piled pressure on them by being reasonably direct and purposeful about our carries and what we were doing.

“The team was together, connected, and that was a positive thing. There was no stress around what we were doing.”

The attitude of the team was highlighted on the defensive end, where the Blues held out multiple brumbies advancements inside their 22, finishing the game with a tackle completion rate of 94 per cent.


“We knew they were a capable team with the ball in hand, and they were well-balanced and varied. They’re a smart team, but the boys dug in and managed to keep them out until later in the game.

“They were up for it, and when you’re up, and together, you generally get a good result.”

Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu found the win especially satisfying given his experience against a tough Brumbies forward pack, especially at lineout time.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It was part of the game plan (to take them on with driving mauls), which made us nervous throughout our preparation. When that happens, we get on the edge of our seats, prepare genuinely and bone deep.

“So, to get it rolling, and to get over the line, especially, that speaks to the work we’ve done through the season because we’ve gotten so close so often.


“Against a good Brumbies team who pride themselves on their set piece, we’ve got to be happy with that.”


The dominance in the contact area was hugely promising for the team, who refused to surrender their place at second on the Super Rugby Pacific table in the win.

“We went direct and did what we like to do, and just carry and clean. There were times where they challenged our breakdown and made a mess of it for us, so that’s a work-on for us next week.”

The effort made an impression on their opposition, who retained their place at third on the competition table despite the loss.

“The Blues carried exceptionally well, hit the gain line and got over it quite easily,” Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said. “Their maul was dominant in the second half.

“There weren’t a lot of things that went right for us. There’s plenty of things we can talk about, but realistically, we lost the physical battle at 7-0 down.”


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Abe 2 hours ago
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Turlough 6 hours ago
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17 Go to comments
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