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Brumbies up for Blues semi-final test

It’s the toughest test in rugby, but if the Brumbies want to taste Super Rugby Pacific championship success, it’s one they simply must pass.

They’ll head to the cauldron that is Eden Park and battle the champion Blues for a spot in the following week’s final, seeking their first Trans-Tasman title since 2004.

But they gave the Blues a serious push just two weeks ago, even leading as the clock ticked over the 80-minute mark before a Beauden Barrett drop goal rescued a 21-19 win for the Auckland side in their round 14 clash in Canberra.

The Brumbies will also be boosted by the return of crucial flanker Rob Valetini, who’s missed the last month with a hamstring injury.

Coach Dan McKellar said confidence was high as his troops entered the biggest week of their professional careers.

“We’ve been here before … we had to go to Argentina a couple of years ago and play a semi over there, we go to Auckland really confident,” he told reporters.

“We felt we should have won that game a couple of weeks ago, there’s an enormous amount of respect for them.

“They’ve got threats across the park, we feel we’ve got the game that can challenge them and we’ll prepare for that.”

The Brumbies had to dig extraordinarily deep to turn a 10-point second-half deficit into a 35-25 win against the Hurricanes in Canberra on Saturday night.

Captain Allan Alaalatoa said they headed to the semis believing they could achieve the allegedly impossible.

“There’s a huge amount of belief, and tonight’s win adds to that,” he told reporters.

“Probably a sold-out Eden Park, I mean that atmosphere is going to be unbelievable.

“That connection and belief starts now and we’ll continue to build that up throughout the week.”

The Blues reeled off five straight tries to beat the Highlanders 35-6 on Saturday afternoon, with former NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looking the goods in scoring his first professional rugby union try.

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