Blues save best for last
Brumbies left to sweat over Brisbane result
Last Updated: 14/07/12 2:10pm
Hadleigh Parkes: Crossed late in the first-half for Blues
The Blues saved their best performance of the season for last when beating the Brumbies 30-16 at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The result left the Brumbies sweating over the result in Brisbane where the Reds needed a bonus-point win over the Waratahs to top the Australian conference and book their place in the finals.
And it was the Reds who progressed to the post-season with a 32-16 victory later in the day.
All the Brumbies needed was a losing bonus point, but they couldn't even manage that as their trans-Tasman rivals outscored Jake White's troops three tries to one.
It has been a dismal season for the Blues, who have battled an unprecedented run of injuries and lurched from one defeat to another, but they managed to sign off 2012 with a convincing win.
It was a faultless effort from the visitors who were scintilating on the attack as they carved up their opponents on countless occasions.
Blues scrum-half Piri Weepu missed an opening penalty kick in the second minute of the match, but after that it was full steam ahead for the Aucklanders who were celebrating their first try of the match when lock Liaki Moli powered over from close range. Weepu added the simple conversion.
The Blues' early domination continued and four minutes later flank Daniel Braid charged down the left touchline and barged his way through Jesse Mogg to score in the corner. That score signalled the Kiwi outfit meant business as Weepu converted from far out to give his side a handy 14-0 lead - the Brumbies yet to touch the ball.
After 20 minutes, the hosts finally made their way inside Blues territory and made it count when Zack Holmes slotted over a three-pointer to put the Brumbies on the board.
Some excellent work by Henry Speight then gave the home crowd reason to cheer after the winger danced his way through several Blues defenders for a superb solo try - converted by Holmes - that closed the gap to four points (10-14).
Another Holmes penalty three minutes later made it a one-point ball game (13-14), but the Blues had the final say in the first half following a monumental team effort that ended with wing Hadleigh Parkes over the whitewash. Once again, Weepu was on-target from far out and the Blues went into the half-time sheds 21-13 ahead.
The Brumbies opened the scoring in the second half courtesy of a Jesse Mogg penalty - his first successful kick after missing three prior to that.
But the Blues hit back with another two quickfire Weepu penalties to keep the Brumbies playing catch-up.