Super Rugby Pacific: ACT Brumbies face weight of history against Blues in Eden Park semi-final

ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham hopes to avoid another chastening experience, when his team take on the Blues in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals, after already suffering a heavy loss at Eden Park this season.

Larkham's side are the only Australian team remaining in the competition, after their 32-16 win over the Highlanders, as Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds exited to opposition from across the Tasman.

The Brumbies' hopes of a first international Super Rugby title in 20 years face a major hurdle in the last-four clash, as they resume hostilities with a Blues side that inflicted a 46-7 thrashing on them in April.

The Brumbies had no answer for the Blues in April.
The Brumbies had no answer for the Blues in April. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We've played over there once this year and it didn't work for us," reflected Larkham.

"We'll just take it one week at a time, like you have to do in finals footy, and we'll get everything right in terms of our recovery and our preparation, and give ourselves the best chance when we get over there.

"We'll have a different gameplan, a different strategy and the boys will be fresher. We'll have a stronger team to pick from and this one means a lot to us."

In 28 years of Super Rugby, no Australian team has won a playoff game in New Zealand, but a strong second half showing at Canberra against the Highlanders means Larkham's team have given themselves the opportunity to end that dismal run.

The Brumbies will appear in their third semi-final in a row, after losing by a single point to the Blues in 2022 at Eden Park, before being eliminated by the Chiefs last season.

"We've been in this situation the last couple of years," said Larkham. "In 2022, we played the Blues in the semi-final and we lost right at the end of the game, so we've basically achieved nothing yet, we've spoken about that.

"We've got through this week and I thought the boys played really well in the second half, and we've just got our focus on next week now." 


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