Playmaker Noah Lolesio says the Brumbies must keep their discipline in check to trouble the Blues and keep their Super Rugby Pacific title hopes alive.
The teams will meet on Saturday at Auckland’s Eden Park – usually a graveyard for Australian rugby teams – with a grand final berth on the line.
In their regular round meeting last month the Brumbies looked to have snared a shock victory in Canberra only for Beauden Barrett to slot a field goal after the full-time siren.
“It went down to the last minute and we were probably a ruck or two away from winning that game, which would have been a famous victory in Canberra,” Lolesio said on Monday.
The Brumbies showed their grit to even be in a winning position until that moment given the penalty count.
Folau Fainga’a and Darcy Swain were sin-binned as an early 12-1 penalty count took its toll.
The eventual tally was 16-5 and Lolesio said the Brumbies would need to be better to oust the Blues, who are on a 13-game winning streak.
“We took a lot of lessons from that. Obviously we’ve got to be more disciplined – I remember the penalty count wasn’t favouring us at all,” the young Wallabies playmaker said.
“Us backs, we need to kick better too. It’s something I thought we did really well against the Hurricanes.”
As Australia’s only final four representative, the Brumbies will travel to New Zealand with their tails up after a rousing second half lifted them to a 35-25 win over the Hurricanes.
The Blues advanced courtesy of a 29-point romp over the Highlanders in their quarter-final.
All Blacks wizard Barrett was again the star, scoring two tries and setting up another.
With a full house at Eden Park expected as the Blues hunt their first Super title since 2003, the Brumbies know they need a fast start to keep the crowd out of it.
“At Eden Park it will be us 23 against the Blues and also the Blues crowd,” Lolesio said.
“We’re definitely full of confidence but we know we’ve got a hard task.”
The Brumbies are hopeful of having Len Ikitau available after the Test centre was sent off in the Hurricanes match for a high tackle.
“That’s our point of difference in this competition – we have tremendous depth in every position,” Lolesio said.
“Lenny is a huge player for us and hopefully he will get the all clear but if not, we go back to next player to slot straight in.
“It’s a real squad mentality here.”