Blues wary of Brumbies forward power

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Assistant coach Tom Coventry said, "We've worked pretty hard at it. They're really good there, that's one of their strengths and, arguably, the Crusaders and Brumbies are the best two teams at the drive, so we've got to be good there."


Maintaining good discipline and minimising the Brumbies' chances to kick to corners would reduce their chances of employing their maul.


"We've got to be good at keeping them out of there and if they do [get into the Blues' 22m area], we've got to be good at managing that maul," he said.


The Brumbies were frustrated that they had been punished on the offside line, especially when under pressure from the Blues in their 22m area, when they last met.


Coventry said that infringing revealed how far the Brumbies were prepared to go to get a win.


"They were up for it, and were playing as close to the law as they could to keep themselves in the game. They knew it was going to be a battle in that area," he said.


"The physicality at the breakdown is what most teams are after, and they were after that gain-line, played on the edge and got penalised for it. I'm sure they would have talked about their discipline and will probably be better there.


"We had three guys held up over the line, so we were responsible for not being able to finish off in that match. A few things didn't go either teams' way, they got penalised and we weren't able to score tries and I'm sure that will all disappear, and we'll start from scratch again," he said.

Wet weather was likely to play a part in the game. That would make achieving ascendancy up front important. Wet conditions required smart tactics, especially when looking to open play up.


Coventry said they were well aware of the Brumbies' threat.


"They were bloody good last time we played them. It came down to a dropped goal, and I thought they probably had the upper edge on us at times. I know they're pretty confident with the way they played against us.


"We respect them deeply. They are a great side, and have been a benchmark for Australian Super Rugby teams for a while now.


"We're going to have to be at our very, very best. We weren't last time. They'll be really confident, I've heard that they're confident, and they've got no reason not to be. For a team that's in the semifinals, that's the way you need to approach it," he said.


The Blues are looking to recover some of their scrummaging form after being exposed by the Highlanders last week. All Blacks tighthead Nepo Laulala has been given a start while Oga Tungaafasi will come off the bench.


Injuries to openside flankers Dalton Papalii and Anton Segner were both not available. Adrian Choat has retained the starting role. Bench cover will be James Tucker with Tom Robinson, who has been selected at lock, able to cover the position if needed.


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