Super Rugby

Blues beat Highlanders in Auckland


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The Blues and current Super Rugby champions the Highlanders will kick off the 2016 Super Rugby season at Eden Park on Friday as they play the first match of the season.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick off.

0.01: Referee Glen Jackson blows his whistle and we are underway.

2.00: The Blues make a strong start. Malakai Fekitoa takes a big hit and struggles to get back up. The Blues are awarded a penalty and Ihaia West lines up the kick.

3.00; West hooks the kick to the side and misses.

6.00: The Blues win a line out on the half way line. They kick high and Patrick Osborne takes it in the air but is tackled so the Highlanders have a penalty. Lima Sopoaga kicks for touch.

8.00: The Highlanders win the line out. They go through the phases and get to the 5m line. Aaron Smith clears the ball to Ben Smith who slips through a gap and scores. TRY! Team try.

10.00: Sopoaga takes the conversion kick and nails it.

13.00: The Highlanders press the Blues back into their 22. The try to run the ball up the field and out of their 22 and although they have numbers the Higlanders push out wide and then into touch.

17.00: The Blues win a line out on the Highlanders as the Highlanders lose it in through the fingers. They spread the ball wide and Melani Nanai slips through and scores next to the posts.

18.00: Ihaia West adds the conversion and the scores are level.

19.00: The Highlanders win a penalty as Ben Smith is tackled in the air.

20.00: Lima Sopoaga takes the kick and strikes it well. The Highlanders are back in front.

24.00: Penalty to the Blues. Ihaia West takes the shot and again he misses. Liam Squire of the Highlanders comes off after a knock. Dan Pryor comes on.

25.00: Wow The Blues get the ball in their half. They move the ball through the hands quickly and Blake Gibson slips off three tackles and races for the line and scores next to the posts. West adds the conversion and the Blues lead.

28.00: The Blues win another penalty in front of the posts. West lines up the posts. He takes his time and this one he nails.

31.00: The Highlanders go on the attack and they stretch the Blues defence.Fekitoa sucks in two which opens and hole and Teihorangi Walden slips through and scores. TRY!

32.00: Sopoaga adds the conversion and the scores are level.

37.00: The Blues attack down the wing but Waisake Naholo knocks the ball down so the Blues win a penalty. West takes the shot and nails it. The Blues lead.

38.00: Aaron Smith spots some space behind the Blues he chips the ball ahead and Naholo chases and beats the Blues to the ball and scores. TRY.

40.00: Sopoaga adds the conversion.

The half time score was Blues 20 (20)Highlanders 24 (24)

The Highlanders kick off and the second half is underway.

44.00:The Blues are going through the phases in their half but the Highlanders defence holds strong and keeps them pinned back in their half until they knock on.

46.00: Rene Ranger looks like he is warming up and could be coming on. The Highlanders win their scrum and attack down the line. After a couple of phases the Blues are caught offside at the breakdown. They kick for the corner and the line out.

49.00: The Highlanders get an advantage for a collapsed maul. They continue the attack but knock on so we go back for the penalty on the 5m line.

50.00: This time the Highlanders take the penalty kick. Sopoaga takes the kick but he misses.

55.00: Sopoaga kicks the ball high and Ben Smith and Tevita Li go high to catch the ball. Li goes down and the ball goes out. The Blues get the line out put in.

56.00: The Blues win the line out and after a couple of phases the Blues win a penalty.  West will take a penalty shot. He nails it.

58.00: The TMO is called in for a possible neck roll on Rene Ranger by Joe Wheeler.  The review says no neck roll but the Blues get a penalty. They kick for touch.

61.00; Penalty to the Blues. The Highlanders are on a warning. West takes the kick and nails it. The Blues lead again.

64.00:  Matt Faddes comes on to make his Super Rugby debut. The Blues get the ball on attack and Ranger slips a pass out wide. The Blues look dangerous as they change side and continue the attack until they get pushed out into touch.

68.00: The Blues have the ball and they are just outside the Highlanders 22. They go through 14 phases wearing the Highlanders down.

70.00: The Highlanders lose Patrick Osborne to the sin bin. The Blues kick for the corner and take the line out with the penalty.

72.00: The Blues win the line out and drive over the line. It looks like Patrick Tuipulotu has scored but we go to the TMO to check. The TRY has been awarded.

73.00: West adds the conversion.

78.00: The Highlanders launch an attack from deep. They get the ball to the line and Ben Smith is just short. They keen the ball alive and Smith comes back in and scores. TRY!

79.00: Parker adds the conversion.

80.00: The Blues get the ball and kick the ball into touch and win the match.

The full time score is Blues 33 (20) Highlanders 31  (24)


Tries – M.Nanai, B. Gibson, P. Tuipulotu
Pen – I West 2
Con – I.West 2
Drop –
Cards – P.Osborne (70th min yellow)

Tries – B.Smith 2 , T. Walden, W.Naholo
Pen – L.Sopoaga
Con -L.Sopoaga 3, H.Parker
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2:Brendon Pickerill
TMO : Ben Skeen



Ofa Tu’ungafasi, James Parsons (c), Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Joe Edwards, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua; Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, George Moala, Male Sa’u, Melani Nanai, Lolagi Visinia.

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Charlie Faumuina, Akira Ioane, Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Rene Ranger.


1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Tom Franklin , 5. Joe Wheeler , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. Shane Christie ( cc) , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Teihorangi Walden , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith ( cc )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Brendon Edmonds , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Alex Ainley , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Matt Faddes

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1 Comment

  1. Chris Mitchell

    27th February 2016 at 12:04 am

    It was a great game, marred by poor referee impact on the final score .
    In the last 10 minutes alone a high tackle lead to a turnover that had a player
    rightly sent off. It should not have got to this play, the high tackle was in clear view of 2 officials .
    The Blues next try was sent to the TMO where Ben Skeen was asked for any reason not award the try ,
    There was an obvious illegal tackle/clean out off the ball in the lane where the try was scored seconds before the try ,
    THE TMO’s failure to review correctly influenced the outcome of the game , This is appalling at this level of rugby.

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