Auckland’s Blues become the first Super Rugby franchise to play the British and Irish Lions on their 2017 tour of New Zealand.
The British and Irish Lions will play all five of New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises for the first time on tour.
The Lions started their tour of New Zealand with an unimpressive 13-7 victory over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians last weekend in Whangarei.
This will be the first test for Warren Gatland’s men as they look to gather momentum on this arduous trip, playing the ‘weakest’ of the Kiwi Super Rugby teams.
The Blues have selected eight All Blacks for the clash in Auckland. This should be a humdinger.
A late change for the Blues sees Patrick Tuipulotu dropped for turning up late to practice, a breach of team protocol. Jimmy Tupou takes his place on the bench. Stephen Perofeta starts his first game for the Blues.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
The Blues are performing their Haka.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! Dan Biggar gets this historic game underway. The Lions go through some early phases through Rhys Webb, Ken Owens, Elliot Daly and Courtney Lawes.
3.00: The Lions go 16 phases, using the ball well and showing patience. Eventually, at the breakdown, Sonny Bill Williams steals the ball and is tackled high in the process. The Blues clear.
5.00: Sonny Bill almost costs a try with a loose pass, but the next series of play, he strip-tackles CJ Stander, starting a counter-attack. The Blues have a scrum inside Lions’ territory.
7.00: TRY Rieko Ioane! The flyer burns Jack Nowell after taking a long skip pass, to give the Blues an early lead. Charlie Faumuina passed to Perofeta, who throws a long pass to Ioane to score.
8.00: The conversion is missed.
11.00: TRY? NO TRY? Jared Payne goes over in the corner after some good work by the forwards. It’s VERY close.
12.00: NO TRY! What a tackle by Stephen Perofeta. He made Rieko Ioane’s try and he has saved one here.
13.00: BIG KICK! Michael Collins clears to the Lions 22 after his team was under pressure. The Lions lineout has been poor.
15.00: Both teams losing the ball in a game of ‘Hot Potato’ which eventually sees the Lions win a penalty after George Moala is penalised for not rolling away. The Auckland crowd applauds the decision to kick for touch.
16.00: Rhys Webb darts right, but is held up. Pascal Gauzere is playing advantage. The move breaks down and Biggar kicks to touch. Good D from the Blues, but they are under the pump.
18.00: TRY CJ Stander! The Lions set up a driving maul. They show some patience, the Blues crumble, and the South African crashes over from close range.
19.00: Leigh Halfpenny adds the extras and gives the tourists the lead.
20.00: A knock on by Scott Scrafton comes after Courtney Lawes smokes Stephen Perofeta with a big hit. The Blues are trying to play with width, but their hands are letting them down. The field is slippery, to be fair. The play has stopped for an injury to Leigh Halfpenny.
22.00: The Lions have the scrum. A kicking battle ensues, but the Lions win the territory battle after Matt Duffie’s short clearance. The tourists are using their pick-and-go. The referee calls a halt, saying the ball was unplayable, so Gatland’s men will get a scrum inside the Blues’ 22, in centre field.
23.00: Ofa Tu’ungafasi is penalised for collapsing. The loosehead prop lost his footing, allowing Halfpenny to attempt an easy kick at goal.
24.00: PENALTY! It’s good from the fullback.
27.00: Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje have both been quality in the opening half hour; their lineout and tight-phase play are causing problems for the Blues, and their ball carrying is giving their team some good go-forward ball.
29.00: Elliot Daly, attempting to keep the ball in play, steps out and gives the Blues a lineout on the opposition’s 5. The Blues turn over the ball in a peculiar fashion. Only the ref knows what went on there. Lions scrum, on their 5.
30.00: Charlie Faumuina is penalised and the Lions relieve the pressure. That was poor from the home team.
31.00: It’s the Blues who win a penalty, taking the total tally to eight, four from each team. Justin Tipuric steals the lineout. The Blues win the ball back and are mounting an attack from halfway.
33.00: The Blues structure has gone AWOL. somehow, they win a penalty and set up an attack, just outside the Lions’ 22. The tourists are slowly taking control of the game.
36.00: TRY Rieko Ioane! Wait, no try! The TMO reviews and the Lions win a penalty for offsides. Sonny Bill set up another breakaway after an offload to Steven Luatua, near halfway, which started the series of play. The Lions opted for a scrum inside the Blues’ 22.
37.00: Great work from Steven Luatua and Augustine Pulu at the breakdown, after isolating Maro Itoje, winning the turnover and then the penalty. A scrap ensues after the penalty, but nothing too serious. The Lions have been penalised again, this time at the lineout.
38.00: Ken Owens plays Leigh Halfpenny after gathering the loose ball. The rain is starting to bucket down at Eden Park.
39.00: The Blues mount one last counter-attack from deep. They are going through the phases. Matt Duffie is down.
42.00: The Blues passing has been shoddy, dropping standard passes and passing to no-one. They win a penalty and will kick at goal.
43.00: TMO REVIEW! The ball hits the post and a Blues player gets to the bouncing ball before any of the opposition. Sonny Bill is celebrating. It looks to be knocked backwards. Did TJ Faiane knock it forward?
43.00: TRY Sonny Bill Williams! Marius Jonker confers with Pascal Gauzere, telling him that “the ball was knocked backwards by a Lions’ player and grounded by Blue” and that he “may award the try”.
44.00: Perofeta adds the conversion from under the sticks.
The half-time score was Blues 12 British and Irish Lions 10
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway. The Lions had 65 percent possession and 53 percent territory in the first-half, but they trail by two. Matt Duffie has passed the HIA and is out for the second 40 minutes.
42.00: Justin Tipuric is penalised for not rolling away. Stephen Perofeta kicks to the corner and the Blues have the lineout on the 5.
44.00: TRY Rieko Ioane? Marius Jonker is called in for a try, “yes or no?” The Blues go nine phases, and Augustine Pulu, after some quick ball, sends the wing away. however, Ioane’s foot is in touch. That’s the second try chalked off for the winger.
45.00: The Blues come again, going through the phases and offloading in tight spaces. But, the move breaks down after another knock on.
48.00: Robbie Henshaw sends a long grubber kick into the corner. The Blues will have a defensive lineout inside their 22.
50.00: The Blues are starting to razzle-dazzle. Rieko Ioane makes a break and offloads to Steven Luatua. The No 8 passes to Matt Duffie, but the wing knocks on inside the 22 with the try-line beckoning.
51.00: The Lions go to the blindside, but Jack Nowell loses the ball forward. A big mistake that. Courtney Lawes slaps the ball down at the breakdown and the Blues get the penalty.
53.00: PENALTY! Ihaia West extends his side’s lead to five points.
55.00: Matt Duffie is taken out in the air by Liam Williams after Jonathan Sexton’s bomb. That should be a yellow card. No card. Interesting call again by this referee.
57.00: YELLOW CARD! Liam Williams commits another dangerous tackle while attempting to gather a high ball. this time he is off for repeating the infringement. Daft.
60.00: West’s pass is forward and the Lions survive another scare.
64.00: The Lions are gathering some momentum, going 15 phases before winning the penalty.
65.00: PENALTY! Halfpenny reduces the gap to two points with a quarter of an hour to play. Bread and butter for the Welshman.
67.00: Halfpenny kicks the ball long, but over the dead ball line. However, the ref goes back for an earlier infringement. Liam Williams is back on the field after 10 minutes in the bin.
69.00: Big scrum by the tourists. And they win the penalty. Halfpenny calls for the tee. It is about 50 metres out to the right.
71.00: PENALTY! Leigh Halfpenny puts the Lions in front. Great kick from distance by the Welshman.
73.00: The Lions win another penalty and they cheer as though they’ve won a Test match.
75.00: TRY Ihaia West! It came from Stephen Luatua’s break. He passes to Sonny Bill, who breaks and offloads to West. The standoff races away to score under the poles.
76.00: West converts his own try.
78.00: The Lions are inside the Blues’ 22, they build pressure, but give away a penalty. Oh dear. Warrenball is not working in New Zealand.
80.00: BIG CALL! The Lions win a penalty and kick to the corner. Jeez, this is tense.
81.00: The Lions botch their lineout and the Blues hold on for z famous victory. This tour is in trouble already. Game over.
The final score after 80 minutes is Blues 22 (12) British and Irish Lions 16 (10)
Tries – R. Ioane, Williams, West
Pen – West
Con – Perofeta, West
British and Irish Lions
Tries – Stander
Pen – Halfpenny (3)
Con – Halfpenny
Cards – Wiliams (Yellow, 57th minute)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant 1: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant 2: Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane
British and Irish Lions
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Peter O’Mahon, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 Liam Williams.