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    Reds pip Blues at the death

    2019-06-07 13:38

    Cape Town - Scott Higginbotham became the first forward to score 40 Super Rugby tries on Friday as the Reds snatched 29-28 victory over the Blues in Brisbane.

    As it happened: Reds v Blues

    The veteran No 8 bagged two tries, including a match-winner with four minutes left, to help his side edge the Auckland-based team and end a 15-game losing streak against New Zealand opposition.

    Defeat for the Blues ended any hope they had of making the playoffs with the Reds also out of contention, barring a miracle, after a match that may have been the last home game for inspirational captain Samu Kerevi.

    He has been strongly linked with a move to Suntory in Japan after this year's World Cup, and his departure will be a huge loss.

    "For this team and this state to get that win means a lot because it's been a long time coming," Kerevi, who was in tears at the final whistle, said of the New Zealand win drought.

    "We have just an exceptional group of young men here who are really humble and hard working."

    The Blues might have been without rested All Blacks duo Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu, but they came out firing and scored a converted try after just two minutes when Blake Gibson barged over from a pick-and-drive.

    Tanielu Tele'a got them another before the hulking Higginbotham, who will play for Bordeaux next year, scored his 40th try following a lovely offload from Jock Campbell.

    Further tries for the Blues' Augustine Pulu and the Reds' Taniela Tupou sent them into the break with the home team trailing 15-21.

    The Reds hauled themselves into the lead early in the second stanza with Bryce Hegarty getting a converted try before Pulu darted over from close range for his second to restore the Blues advantage.

    As the clock ticked down Higginbotham broke away for his second five-pointer to ensure he went out with a bang in his final home game in Reds colours.

    Scorers:

    Reds

    Tries: Scott Higginbotham (2), Taniela Tupou, Bryce Hegarty

    Conversion: Hegarty (3)

    Penalty: Hegarty

    Blues

    Tries: Blake Gibson, Taniela Tele’a, Augustine Pulu (2)

    Conversions: Otere Black (4)

    Teams:

    Reds

    15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Gav Luka, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Hamish Stewart

    Blues

    15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Tanielu Tele’a, 10 Otere Black, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman

    Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Lua Li, 19 Tom Robinson, 20 Josh Goodhue, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Levi Aumua

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