The Blues have played the Bulls 17 times in Super Rugby and they have won ten matches and lost seven since 1998.
The last five games have seen the Bulls win three and the Blues two; only one of the last four games going back to 2014, has the losing team not picked up a losing bonus point.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
The teams are out on the field. Jan Serfontein is making his 50th appearance in Super Rugby and leads the Bulls out.
BEEP! Piers Francis starts the first game of Saturday’s round 5 fixtures.
1.00: The opening exchanges see both teams kicking for territory. Bulls have a line-out inside blues half but, they are penalised for interference. Francis kicks to touch.
3.00: TRY! Augustine Pulu scores after a good line-out work from Jerome Kaino. Rieko Ioane spread the ball left to Michael Collins who popped a wonderful offload out the back door to Melani Nanai, the fullback regathered from the winger in support and, sent the scrumhalf away to score.
4.00: Francis adds the easy extras.
6.00: The Bulls handling has been poor in the opening exchanges. Scrum. blues.
8.00: George Moala’s turn to knock on. Attacking scrum for the visitors on the 10 but, a free kick is awarded to the Blues for an early push: “chasing the push,” Nic Berry explains.
11.00: Blues lose the ball forward and after several phases, the Bulls win a penalty. Handré Pollard kicks deep into the Blues 22. Line-out on the 5.
12.00: Oh no, the Bulls pass the ball into touch. Serfontein then penalised for a blatant offside.
13.00: Referee Nic Berry has missed an offside and a knock on by the Blues. Bulls have a scrum inside their own half. The game is scrappy.
15.00: Pauliasi Manu penalised and Pollard kicks a wonderful touch finder.
17.00: TRY! Lizo Gqoboka reaches out from close range and scores next to the right-hand upright for his first Super rugby try. Pollard can’t miss from so close and the game is tied.
20.00: The Blues are on the attack and win a penalty inside the Bulls’ 22 after Ruan Steenkamp is pinged. Francis turns down the points and kicks to touch.
22.00: HELD UP! Blues went short, trying to muscle their way over. Pulu and Kaino instrumental in the attack. another penalty is kicked to touch.
24.00: The Bulls turn it over on their line. Wow. Great defence from the South Africans who have a scrum inside their 22 and, a chance to clear.
25.00: PENALTY! Pauliasi Manu penalised on the loose-head; silly error from the big man and that’s his second scrum penalty. Bulls clear.
27.00: A bit of aerial ping-pong sees teams changing possession of the ball. The Blues decide to go to the near side and keep the ball in hand.
29.00: Ruan Steenkamp puts a massive hit in but, the Bulls lose the ball after, initially, turning it over. Francis kicks to touch and the Blues attack near the visitors’ 22.
31.00: PENALTY! Steenkamp penalised for offside. Francis opts for the points on this occasion. the Bulls look knackered already and the Blues sense it.
32.00: It’s wide from in front; bad miss from the first-five-eight.
33.00: Steenkamp penalised again at the breakdown, the infringements are building quickly in North Harbour.
35.00: Blues still attacking inside the visitors half.
36.00: Bulls have 100% line-out and, win another by Lodewyk de Jager. The Bulls trying to wide to set up an attack. Pollard drives the Blues back with a clever grubber deep inside the hosts’ 22.
38.00: Pulu clears but the bulls back three counter. They lose possession and are pinned inside their half. Blues turn the ball over and attack wide. Charlie Faumuina tries a charge, is stopped but, the home team have a line-out.
40.00: The hooter blows with the Bulls in possession outside their 22. Pollard kicks the ball out and the teams head into the shed for the break.
The Turnover stats are not great in regards to the turnover count. The Blues 10 Bulls 6. Lots of penalties around the ruck.
The handling errors will be a concern for Blues coach Tana Umaga, his side has coughed up 15 mistakes to the Bulls’ 5. Not great, “you have to earn the right to go wide” is the oft-stated phrase in super Rugby and, the home team haven’t, despite, their early score on the touch-line.
Not great, “you have to earn the right to go wide” is the oft-stated phrase in Super Rugby and, the home team haven’t, despite, their early score on the touch-line.
The halftime score was Blues 7 Bulls 7
BEEP! Pollard restarts the game.
41.00: No changes yet, by either side. blues have the ball inside their 22.
43.00: Blues take a quick throw but, instead of running, their kick it out on the full. Hanro Liebenberg is being checked for a rib injury.
46.00: TRY! Matt Duffie. George Moala got the move going with a great offload, Pollard comes up to make the tackle but, Michael Collins gives it to Duffie, who slips the flyhalf’s tackle and runs in to give the home team the lead.
47.00: The conversion is good from Francis.
48.00: Stoppage in play; blood is pouring from Ruan Steenkamp’s face, he’ll go off for stitches. Jannes Kirsten is on at flank.
50.00: Penalty! Bulls get it wrong again. Francis kicks and relieves the pressure. Sione Mafileo replaces Charlie Faumuina at tighthead.
52.00: PENALTY! Francis turns down the three and kicks to touch. Blues have a line-out six metres out.
53.00: Bulls steal the line-out then, inexplicably, pass inside their goal-line and conceded a five-metre scrum after getting sacked. What is going on here?
55.00: TRY! It’s Duffie at the double. Some short drives, the move ends with Francis putting in a lovely little dink across the field for the winger who, collects and scores in the right-hand corner. the conversion is missed.
57.00: The Bulls’ penalties are starting to mount, given away 10 already and now, the TMO Ben Skeen is looking for foul play. Looks like a neck-roll from Jimmy Tupou on Jesse Kriel.
58.00: YELLOW CARD! Jimmy Tupou is off for a stint in the sin-bin for 10 minutes. Pollard clears and the Bulls have a line-out inside Blues’ territory.
59.00: Handré Pollard goes off for Tian Schoeman in another interesting substitution by the Bulls. A penalty is kicked into the in-goal area by the replacement and, the pressure is released.
62.00: It’s being reported that Pollard was always going to play for an hour the be replaced. Strange, because he was playing so well and, the game is in the balance.
65.00: Penalty to the Blues after a high tackle. Ihaia West, on for Francis, kicks to the corner. John-Roy Jenkinson comes on to the field for Lood de Jager.
66.00: TRY? Ihaia West looks to have grounded the ball, just, as he dives over. The Blues gamble pays off and the try is awarded. It came from a great offload fromPatrick Tuipulotu.
67.00: West can’t add the extras but, the blues have a large cushion going into the final 10 minutes.
69.00: The Bulls are tiring and, the hosts are putting them under the pump.
71.00: TRY! Matt Moulds goes over in the corner. Duffie sends Moulds over after some wonderful interplay by the backs, spread the visitors. Rieko Ioane gave a quick ball to the wing to set up the score. West makes the conversion from out wide.
73.00: TRY! Melani Nanai scores after a wonderful break from West who pops the ball to the supporting Rieko Ioane who draws the defence and sends the winger away.
74.00: West adds the two.
77.00: The Bulls are attacking but the game is up.
80.00: TRY? TMO is checking. TRY! Rudy Paige is awarded the score
The final score after 80 minutes is Blues 38 (7) Bulls 14 (7)
Tries – Pulu, Duffie (2), West, Moulds, Nanai
Con – Francis (2), West (2)
Cards – YELLOW CARD (Jimmy Tupou, 58th minute)
Tries – Gqoboka, Paige
Con – Pollard, Schoeman
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2: Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen
15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Rudolph Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 John-Roy Jenkinson