Super Rugby Round 14 kicks off in Auckland where the Blues host the Chiefs at Eden Park on Friday with the hope of ending their losing streak to the Hamilton side.
The Blues have not beaten the Chiefs since June 2011, losing their last 11 matches against the Chiefs. This could be close; the visitors have won three of their last four away games in New Zealand derbies.
The Blues are almost certainly out of the tournament, even if they win, while the Chiefs know this is a must-win game too.
The two teams are out on the field. The Blues have not won against Kiwi opposition and will feel the jet-lag after travelling from Cape Town this week.
The Blues have lost their last 10 against Kiwi opposition and 20 of 21.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! Angus Gardner gets us underway in Auckland. Aaron Cruden’s kick-off is collected by Sonny Bill Williams. An aerial kicking duel ensues and, eventually, after a couple of wayward kicks by the Blues, the ball goes out at midfield for a Chiefs throw.
4.00: The Chiefs lose their first lineout against the throw. Somehow, they survive the Blues attack, go down the field. Cruden’s cross-kick is gathered by Tim Nanai-Williams, who breaks a tackle and sets up a ruck. The referee awards a penalty to the visitors and they will kick.
5.00: Cruden’s cross-kick is gathered by Tim Nanai-Williams, who breaks a tackle and sets up a ruck. The referee awards a penalty to the visitors and they will kick.
7.00: PENALTY! Damian McKenzie gets the Chiefs on the board.
8.00: Akira Ioane is penalised for going off his feet at the breakdown; Cruden kicks to touch, but they lose the ball after another botched lineout by Nathan Harris, who is 0/2 on own throws.
11.00: Sonny Bill makes some metres after a good set piece move from the lineout. James Parsons wins the penalty and the hosts have a chance to level the scores.
12.00: PENALTY! Piers Francis can’t miss from their (25 metres out, in front).
13.00: Charlie Faumuina knocks on inside his half and the Chiefs have a centre-field scrum, bang in the middle of the Blues’ 10 and 22. The scrum is reset three times and the referee is having words.
15.00: Tawera Kerr-Barlow breaks to the left, ghosts through some defenders and throws a long pass, out to his left for James Lowe, who boots the ball forward. It goes dead and Francis restarts with a 22 drop-out.
17.00: The Blues wins a penalty and opt for poles.
18.00: MISS! Francis pushes his kick wide, so we are still level at 3-all.
19.00: Tim Nanai-Williams leaves the field with an ankle injury. It was taped earlier in the game, but the winger cannot put any pressure on his foot and is off. Shaun Stevenson replaces Nanai-Williams.
20.00: Augustine Pulu puts in a huge box-kick, nobody can gather cleanly, with the Chiefs knocking on first, so scrum to the Blues.
22.00: A multi-phase play breaks down for the Blues when Patrick Tuipulotu knocks on in midfield. The Blues were making metres after George Moala’s initial break.
23.00: A scuffle breaks out after the Chiefs are pinged for a scrum infringement. It’s Kane Hames, again – the most penalised player in Super Rugby.
24.00: Francis does not find touch, but somehow, McKenzie knocks on and the Blues will get the scrum, near the touchline.
25.00: Angus Gardner speaks to the players about their behaviour after another scrum penalty. Charlie Faumuina and Kane Hames had some words, so did Akira Ioane and Brodie Retallick. Cruden kicks a big touch-finder and the Chiefs have the lineout.
27.00: The Blues win the turnover inside their 22 and counter-attack from deep. Sonny Bill takes the first contact. After several phases, Francis kicks a wonderful touch-finder.
29.00: Faumuina makes a break, beating two defenders and charges up the field, into the Chiefs’ 22. Pulu goes to his right, but the move breaks down after James Lowe’s intercept attempt. Blues ball.
30.00: TRY Rieko Ioane! Sonny Bill makes the break in midfield, the ball is recycled quickly. Pulu gets quick ball at another ruck, sees Rieko Ioane, on his outside, and sends the winger through the space. That was classic SBW in the build-up.
31.00: Francis adds the extras and the home team have the lead.
34.00: The Chiefs come back, go 12 phases, but the ball is slow. They camped down on the Blues’ try-line but concede a penalty. Great D from the hosts. It all started with Lowe’s kick-off chase and regather. The Chiefs came down with a dose of ‘white-line fever’ and the chance goes begging. Francis clears to touch.
37.00: Matt Duffie starts an attack, combining with Michael Collins, the Blues 15. They win a penalty at the breakdown and will kick at goal.
38.00: PENALTY! Francis extends his side’s lead to 10 points with half-time in sight.
39.00: Try Damian McKenzie! It all came from another sloppy restart from the Blues. The fullback takes Nepo Laulala pass in midfield and ghosts through Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu. McKenzie beat Scott Scrafton’s tackle and raced to the try line. Pulu could not cover in time. Great try.
41.00: Miss! Cruden can’t add the extras from near the sideline. The rain is starting to come down, but the Chiefs have some momentum.
The half-time score was Blues 13 Chiefs 8
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! Brodie Retallick makes a hash of the restart and the Blues are on the attack. Nepo Laulala is penalised and Piers Francis will take a shot.
43.00: PENALTY! Francis adds the three points and extends the Blues’ lead to eight.
45.00: Both teams are struggling with the slippery ball. The rain is starting to make an impact as the teams have combined for seven handling errors.
47.00: The Blues have lost four of their last seven against New Zealand opposition when leading at half-time. Both teams are putting boot-to-ball, looking for a territorial advantage.
48.00: James Lowe’s kick crosses the dead ball line and the Blues restart from their 22.
50.00: another handling error stops the Chiefs’ attack. The Blues have the scrum on their 10.
51.00: Kane Hames gets the better of Charlie Faumuina; it’s 2-1 to Hames. The Chiefs will take the points.
53.00: PENALTY! Aaron Cruden makes no mistake from in front.
54.00: Tana Umaga has seen enough and substitutes Charlie Faumuina for Sione Mafileo.
55.00: Nepo Laulala is penalised for not rolling away. Francis relieves the pressure with a clearance to the Chiefs’ 10. Sonny Bill, after a big game, is off to the bench. Tinoai Faiane is on for the All Black.
59.00: The Blues win the turnover and go through the phases. Their patience pays off and they are inside the Chiefs’ 22. Augustine Pulu and Nathan Harris have a little rumble, but it’s handbags.
63.00: The game is getting very scrappy. The Blues are having the better of the second-half, but can’t convert any chances. The Chiefs, however, are chasing the game and therefore, making more handling errors and, they are being frustrated by the Blues’ obdurance.
65.00: The Blues start building through the phases. However, Scott Scrafton loses it in the ruck. Chiefs ball inside their 22.
68.00: TRY Johnny Faauli! Wow. It started from James Lowe’s gathering of his own charged down kick. The Chiefs ran the ball, Lowe gave an offload. Liam Messam punched up-field, the Chiefs recycled and Damian McKenzie’s vision, to see the centre and find him with the cross-kick, was stunning.
69.00: Miss! The conversion is missed and we a have a tied game with less than 10 minutes to play.
72.00: The Blues win a penalty in a kickable position. Francis, who is 4/5, will take a shot at goal.
73.00: MISS! It’s wide. Francis pushes his kick to the right of the uprights. That could prove costly.
76.00: The Blues are lucky not to concede a penalty, instead, they win one and clear. They are inside the Chiefs’ 22.
78.00: Time is running down; a draw for both sides would be a catastrophe.
80.00: The Blues attack out wide, but the ball is passed into touch as they looked for the offload. Game over. This is the first draw between these two teams.
The full-time score is Blues 16 (13) Chiefs 16 (8)
Tries – R. Ioane
Pen – Francis (3)
Con – Francis
Tries – McKenzie, Faauli
Pen – McKenzie, Cruden
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Mabey
TMO: Glenn Newman
15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13. George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 TJ Faiane.
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Solomon Alaimalo, 23 Shaun Stevenson