The Blues are currently placed fourth in the New Zealand Conference while the Highlanders are fifth. 2015 Champions the Highlanders have played 13 matches in Auckland but only won 3 times since 1998.
We are waiting for the kick off.
Referee Glen Jackson blows his whistle and the match is underway.
2.00: The Highlanders win the first line out and they boot it straight into touch as the wind is swirling.
3.00: James Parsons line out throw is not straight so the Highlanders have a scrum.
5.00: The Highlanders win the scrum and run at the Blues. They find some holes in the Blues defence and Malakai Fekitoa gets the ball almost on the line but loses it in the tackle as he goes over.
8.00: The Highlanders are pressing hard at the Blues and testing their defence.
9.00: The Highlanders go through 9 phases but the Blues turn the ball over and boot it deep but back to the Highlanders.
10.00: Lots of handling errors from both sides. The Blues run the ball out of their 22 but final pass is forward.
13.00: The Highlanders attack the Blues from all sides but the Blues hang on. They win a penalty for offside and will have a shot at goal. Waisake Naholo has gone off injured.
14.00: Lima Sopoaga takes the kick and nails it.
16.00: The Highlanders chip the ball ahead. The Blues can’t get to the ball but Malakai Fekitoa does and after one pass out the ball comes back to him and he scores in the corner. TRY!
17.00: Sopoaga adds the conversion.
20.00: The Highlanders chip the ball ahead and chase but concede a penalty for tackling a player in the air. Tevita Li on Matt Duffie. The Blues kick for touch and the line out.
21.00: The Blues go through five phases on attack and they get to the 5m line but get called back for a penalty after the ball went dead.
22.00: Malakai Fekitoa has a chat with the medics so must have taken a knock. Murphy Taramai also gets some attention from his medics as Ihaia West has a shot at goal for the penalty and nails it.
24.00: (Forward) Jackson Hemopo has come on for (back) Malakai Fekitoa who has gone for a head check.
27.00: The Blues are growing in confidence. The kick the ball deep and the Highlanders try to kick it back but the ball is sliced into touch giving the Blues an attacking line out in the Highlanders 22.
28.00: The Blues press hard at the Highlanders on attack but win a penalty for a high tackle.
29.00: West slots the penalty. Blues trail by four.
31.00: The Highlanders recover on attack from a scrappy line out. They work the ball through 7 phases but the ball goes dead. They get the scrum put in though – in front of the Blues posts.
35.00: The Blues have to scramble as the Highlanders chip the ball behind them but they do get back. The Blues recover the ball but slice it as they try to clear the ball and as the Highlanders attack Aaron Smith puts in a shocker kick.
36.00: Turnovers everywhere as the ball changes hands from side to side. The ball is kicked ahead by the Highlanders and it goes into touch with a bit of help from the wind.
38.00: Handling errors : Blues 6 Highlanders 6
39.00: Parsons puts the ball into the line out and it goes straight to Liam Coltman. The HIghlanders attack but a wild pass goes into touch.
40.00: Its half time.
The half time score was Blues 6 Highlanders 10
The Highlanders kick off and the second half is underway.
42.00: The Blues concede an early penalty in front of the posts. Sopoaga lines up the posts.
43.00: Sopoaga nails the penalty. Siosuia Halanukonuka has been replaced by the Highlanders.
46.00: Parsons puts the ball in for the Blues at the line out and this time finds his jumpers. The Blues go through 5 phases but the HIghlanders turn the ball over and kick it back deep.
49.00: Penalty to the Blues. West knocks it over. Joe Wheeler comes on for the Highlanders and wins his 50th cap for the franchise.
51.00: The Blues have brought on the replacements. Piers Francis is on for West while Matt Moulds is on for Parsons.
54.00: The Highlanders go on the attack following a scrum. They run the ball into the Blues half but then the Blues turn it over and knock on.
56.00: The Blues try to run the ball in the middle of the field but they lose it forward. Handling error numbers still mounting.
57.00: The Highlanders get the ball and run it but they too knock on.
60.00: The Blues string together 7 phases and work the ball into the Highlanders half but then on the 8th phase they concede a penalty for not releasing.
62.00: The Blues are bringing on more replacements. Changes to the front row win a scrum and they run the ball to the half way line. The Highlanders holds them out but then George Moala gets into space and races for the line. His final pass goes to Marty Banks and the Highlanders get the ball away. However Lima Sopoaga has been injured and has to come off limping – probably a hamstring.
66.00: The Blues are upping the pressure on attack. They have the ball in the Highlanders 22. 8 phases but the Highlanders hang on. 11 phases.
67.00: Penalty to the Blues. They will have a shot at the posts. Francis nails it.
68.00: The Highlanders kick high for the Blues and again they knock on.
Handling errors : Blues 12 Highlanders 11
71.00: Penalty to the Highlanders for offside at the ruck. Marty Banks will have a shot at the posts.
72.00: Banks slots the penalty. The Blues need a try to win now.
75.00: Matt Duffie gets the ball and runs for the line, he slips and falls as he kicks the ball into touch as Tevita Li is also injured.
76.00: Penalty from the line out to the Blues. Francis sets up a line out in the Highlanders 22.
77.00: After 7 phases Augustine Pulu gets through and races for the line. He offloads and the Blues go wide but the Highlanders scramble and get back to dot the ball down. Tevita Li goes off for a concussion test. Highlanders running out of players. They have the 5m scrum put in though.
78.00: The scrum collapses. The Highlanders win the scrum and boot the ball into touch well upfield.
79.00; The Blues win the line out and use the maul.
80.00: The siren sounds. The Blues drive forward with the maul and then break out. They get to the 5m line. Then a little closer. 6 phases and the Highlanders are hanging on.
81.00: penalty to the Blues. Gareth Evans is yellow carded and the Blues tap the ball and run and knock on!!!
The Highlanders have won.
The full time score is Blues 12 (6) Highlanders 16 (10)
Pen – I. West 3, P.Francis,
Tries – M.Fekitoa
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2, M.Banks
Con – L.Sopoaga
Cards -G.Evans (81st min yellow)
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Mabey
TMO :Shane McDermott
Pauliasi Manu, James Parsons (C), Charlie Faumuina, Jimmy Tupou, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino, Blake Gibson, Murphy Taramai; Augustine Pulu, Ihaia West, Rene Ranger, George Moala, Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie, Michael Collins.
Replacements: Matt Moulds, Sam Prattley, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Akira Ioane or Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai.
1.Daniel Lienert-Brown 2. Liam Coltman,3. Siosuia Halanukonuka,4. Alex Ainley, 5. Tom Franklin, 6. Gareth Evans, 7. Elliot Dixon ( C ), 8. Luke Whitelock, 9 Aaron Smith, 10 . Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li, 12. Rob Thompson,13.Malakai Fekitoa, 14.Waisake Naholo, 15. Richard Buckman
Replacements : 16.Sekonia Pole, 17. Aki Seiuli,18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Joe Wheeler, 20. Jackson Hemopo, 21.Dillon Hunt, 22. Kayne Hammington, 23.Marty Banks.