Road to the Final: Blues

Wed, Jun 19, 2024, 6:44 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Match Highlights: Semi-Final v Blues

The Blues have proved themselves as one of the best sides of Super Rugby Pacific after a dominant 2024 season.

After a stunning semi-final defeat, Vern Cotter's side have been all business as they contended for the minor premiership throughout the regular season.

Catch every game of Super Rugby Pacific LIVE, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sport.

Whilst they missed top spot on points difference, fortuitous results see the Final return to Auckland as they hunt for their first Super Rugby title since 2003.

Rugby.com.au has looked back at how they got to the finals, pinpointing the key moments and matches that defined their season.

Early slip up

The Blues started fast with wins over the Drua and Highlanders before they were stunned by the Hurricanes in Wellington.

It was a message of intent from the eventual minor premiers, racing out to a 24-7 lead just after the half-time break.

The Blues tried to fight their way back into the contest but ran out of time as Riley Higgins’ 67th-minute try sealed the win.

Vern Cotter’s side would not lose another game for another two and a half months as the defeat spurred them into top gear.

Winning at the death

The Blues were riding high after three straight 35+ point victories before facing a brutal encounter against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

The hosts pushed the Blues all the way and looked to have sealed the win when Tim Ryan’s third try on starting debut gave them an 11-point lead with 17 minutes to go.

However, the resilience of the Blues shone through, which would prove critical heading into the back end of the season.

They scored three straight tries, including two in the final five minutes to steal victory after the siren.

End the streak

The Blues had revenge on their mind as they battled the Hurricanes in a top-of-the-table clash.

This time around, the Blues started fast and had to withhold a late charge from the Hurricanes.

Harry Plummer’s 75th-minute penalty gave them some breathing room as the Hurricanes pressed their line late for a winner.

In the end, the Blues held tough to keep their hopes of a minor premiership alive and ultimately secure a home semi-final.

An early Final preview

The Blues will enter Saturday’s Final with bragging rights thanks to last month’s victory over the Chiefs.

They needed a bonus point victory to claim the minor premiership and looked set to secure it when Akira Ioane crossed for a commanding lead.

A late Josh Ioane try spoiled their campaign to finish top, stuck behind the Hurricanes on points difference.

However, it would mean little as the events of the semi-finals presented them with hosting rights.

Booking a home final

The Brumbies came to Auckland eyeing off revenge but they were blown out of the park by a Blues side eyeing off their own redemption.

They targeted the visitors early as they controlled the restart game to race out to a convincing lead.

Despite the Brumbies fight, the Blues were never troubled as they cruised to victory and the Final.

Share
Harry McLaughlin-Phillips guided Australia to victory. Photo: Getty Images
McLaughlin-Phillips shines as Australia U20 hold on for victory over Wales
Vaha'akolo stars as Black Ferns power their way to win over Wallaroos
The All Blacks are looking to build after their sweep of England. Photo: Getty Images
Robertson wants improvement after All Blacks battle past England
'Childhood dream' realised as Nasser soaks in Test debut