Brumbies douse Blues in Melbourne 'Super Round' – Reuters

MELBOURNE, March 5 (Reuters) – ACT Brumbies made a huge statement for Australian rugby by outfighting New Zealand powerhouse the Auckland Blues 25-20 in a bruising battle on Sunday, the highlight of the second round of the Super Rugby Pacific season.
Brumbies hooker Lachlan Lonergan broke a 20-20 tie with a try off the Canberra-based side's trademark rolling maul in the 35th minute and neither side was able to score a single point for the remainder of a match played in stifling heat.
The Blues lost only one regular season match and beat the Brumbies by a single point in the semi-finals last year, but their high-octane offence was shackled for much of a breathless contest at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
"It was good footy," said Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White, who came off the bench for the Brumbies as he did in their opening win over the New South Wales Waratahs last week.
"Just test match intensity. Honestly, every breakdown, every carry, every tackle just everyone giving their everything. Good start to the year for us."
While the Brumbies rode their set piece superiority to a penalty try and a score from winger Andy Muirhead in the first half, the Blues kept up the pace with a try from hooker Ricky Riccitelli and a runaway effort from flanker Tom Robinson.
"I think we built a rivalry over the last year and we knew we were going to come here and get a test match footy calibre of game," said Blues captain Dalton Papalii, who suffered a shoulder injury during the match.
All six matches over the "Super Round" weekend were played at the same venue but one-sided contests detracted from the spectacle as Canterbury Crusaders, Waikato Chiefs, Waratahs and Queensland Reds all racked up big wins.
On Saturday, centre Rameka Poihipi scored eight seconds after kickoff to set a new mark for quickest try in Super Rugby as the Chiefs monstered Moana Pasifika 52-29 to make it two wins out of two for the new season.
The Reds also had a quick start in the final match of the round on Sunday with fullback Jordan Petaia crossing for the first of his two tries after 30 seconds as the Queenslanders pummeled Western Force 71-20.
The Waratahs were being held 17-17 at halftime by a physical Fijian Drua side on Saturday but 36 unanswered points after the break gave them a 46-17 win.
The reigning champion Crusaders opened the weekend with a 52-15 battering of their South Island neighbours the Otago Highlanders to get back to winning ways after their week one loss to the Chiefs.
In Friday's second match, the Wellington Hurricanes claimed a tighter 39-33 victory over host club the Melbourne Rebels.
Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea had a busy evening with two tries, a try assist and 10 minutes in the sin bin after a melee just before halftime.
Despite apologising after the match, the All Blacks loose forward could face a spell on the sidelines after being cited for making a throat-cutting gesture at Rebels scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens as he left the pitch after the yellow card.
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