Super Rugby

Blues beat Sunwolves in North Harbour

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The Blues have played the Sunwolves just twice in Super Rugby since the Japanese side joined the tournament in 2016.

The Aukland side has won one and lost one. Both matches between the teams were played in Tokyo so this will be the first time that they will be meeting on New Zealand soil.

  • The Blues have won only one of their last nine Super Rugby games on home turf, scoring more than 22 points in a game on only two occasions in that span.
  • The Japanese are hot off the back of their first ever away victory in the last round and will have the opportunity to win back to back games in Super Rugby for just the second time, previously doing so in May last year.
  • The Sunwolves remain the only team in Super Rugby 2019 with a 100% goal-kicking accuracy, slotting all 14 of their attempts thus far (7C, 7P).
  • Akira Ioane (Blues) has made 41 carries thus far in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other player in the competition, while the Gerhard van den Heever (Sunwolves) has made 34, the third most.
  • Both games have been won by the team trailing at halftime.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in North Harbour at QBE Stadium.

2.00: The Sunwolves break out from their 22 and have the Blues pinned inside their own 22.

3.00: The visitors earn a penalty and they will have a shot at goal.

4.00: PENALTY! Rikiya Matsuda gives his side the lead. 0-3

6.00: The Sunwolves are enjoying 70 per cent possession. The Blues can’t get any ball, or out of their half.

8.00: Another linebreak, this time from scrumhalf Jamie Booth, puts the blues on the backfoot. The visitors are looking good.

11.00: Sione Mafileo is caught offsides. The replay shows the tighthead was about three metres offsides.

12.00: PENALTY! Matsuda doubles his side’s lead. 0-6

13.00: The Japanese are using fast line-speed to attack the Blues. It is knocking the hosts back, but they have also been caught offsides, twice. The referee is playing a long advantage for the two infringements.

14.00: Hiroshi Yamashita is the man that is pinged for the second penalty-advantage. Harry Plummer will take a shot at goal.

16.00: PENALTY! Plummer halves the deficit from in front. 3-6

17.00: Booth is everywhere; the scrumhalf is causing the Blues trouble around the fringes. Some good work by the No 9 and Michael Little comes to nothing when the visitors lose the ball.

18.00: There have been too many handling errors by both teams; four by the hosts and two against the visitors. The penalty count is high, too. Blues conceded four penalties to the Sunwolves’ three.

19.00: Another handling mistake gifts the Sunwolves a scrum near halfway.

20.00: Rahboni Warren Vosayaco breaks from the scrum, but he is called back because of obstruction by Hendrik Tui on Blake Gibson. Plummer kicks to the 22.

21.00: TRY! Tanielu Tele’a goes close after some good work by Plummer. eventually, the ball is sent wide for Rieko Ioane to notch his first try of the season. 8-6

23.00: MISS! Plummer can’t add the extras, but the Blues have the lead. 8-6

24.00: Pauliasi Manu is punished for an infringement. Plummer kicks deep.

25.00: Sonny Bill draws in Jamie Henry and offloads to Ioane, who breaks away down the sideline. The opportunity ends with a loose pass being knocked on by the hosts.

26.00: Williams knocks on after Melani Nanai’s break in midfield. The fullback looked to do a Tom Brady, tucked the ball under his arm and ghosted through a big hole. the Blues are starting to find their mojo.

28.00: Manu loses the ball forward after Booth’s quick-tap penalty. The scrummy made about 15 metres before the loosehead killed the Sunwolves’ attack.

29.00: Sonny Bill loses the ball in contact, the second time in quick succession. The Sunwolves gather and start a counter-attack.

30.00: TRY! Littles around-the-back pass to Rahboni Warren Vosayaco is gathered on the half volley after the ball hit the number eight’s knee. He offloads to the supporting Matsuda, who runs away to score under the posts. The crowd do not like the TMO’s call, but the ref awards the try. 8-11

31.00: CONVERSION! Matsuda converts his score. 8-13

32.00: Sonny bill is causing problems for the defenders. He is getting through gaps and putting players away. The Blues are enjoying 14 phases inside the Sunwolves’ 22.

33.00: A high tackle by Henry, on Ioane, halts play. Williams opts for the previous infringement for offsides, giving the Blues an attacking scrum to the left of the posts.

34.00: TRY! Easy as you like. Akira Ioane picks the ball out of the scrum and sends his younger brother away for his second try, beating Semisi Masirewa to level the scores. 13-all

35.00: CONVERSION! Plummer puts his team in front. 15-13

37.00: Booth with another sniping break around the fringes. Who let him go from Kiwi rugby? He having some game. The move breaks down, giving the Blues a scrum near the touchline.

39.00: The ninth handling error by the home team gives the visitors an attacking scrum inside the Blues’ half. The scrum is reset.

41.00: The hooter sounds, the Blues win a tighthead and start a counter-attack; however, the attack breaks down and the ball is kicked into touch.

The halftime score was Blues 15 Sunwolves 13

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.

43.00: Sonny Bill’s break comes to nothing, instead, Booth starts a counter-attack from his 22, but Little gets smoked and loses the ball forward.

44.00: It’s still a scrappy game, both teams losing possession and not being able to string any substantial phases together. When they do, as the Blues have shown, they will be rewarded with points.

45.00: Vosayaco is caught for holding. Plummer kicks to the corner, as the Sunwolves make some changes.

47.00: Tele’a thinks he’s scored, but he steps on the chalk. The Blues’ forwards driving maul was sensational, but they were expertly stopped near the posts and about a metre short.

48.00: Tui is caught walking into the lineout; free-kick to the Blues, who opt for a scrum.

49.00: TRY! Ioane has his hat-trick, the winger strolls over in the corner after two decoy runners sucked in the wide defenders.

50.00: MISS! Plummer’s kick sails wide. 20-13

53.00: The Sunwolves break out through some enterprising backs’ play, but yet again, their momentum is killed by another infringement at the breakdown.

55.00: Vosayaco, for the second time, is pinged for not rolling away. The Blues are finding some rhythm and are looking dangerous.

56.00: YELLOW CARD! Masirewa deliberately knocks the ball down from an offsides position. Sonny Bill wants a scrum.

58.00: The Blues win a free-kick. Akira Ioane takes it quickly, the ball is recycled and sent to Gerard Cowley-Tuioti. the big man throws a long pass to Rieko Ioane, who dots down for his fourth. 25-13

59.00: MISS! The conversion is unsuccessful. 25-13

61.00: The Sunwolves have a rare venture into the Blues’ 22.

62.00: TRY! Uwe Helu comes off the bench and scores. It was simple one-off runners punching their way through the blue wall. Not bad for 14 men. 25-18

63.00: CONVERSION! Matsuda reduces the deficit to a one-score game. 25-20

66.00: The game is slowing down as we enter the last quarter of an hour.

67.00: The Blues are awarded another penalty, and this time they will take a shot at goal.

69.00: MISS! Otera Black, taking over from Plummer, can’t extend his side’s lead. 25-20

69.00: Hayden Parker is held up in the maul, but it’s a scrum to the Sunwolves because he caught a kick.

71.00: The Blues have dominated territory and possession throughout the game. They have, however, not managed to apply the killer blow to the visitors.

74.00: YELLOW CARD! Nathan Vella deliberately knocks the ball down, killing a Blues attack on the Sunwolves’ goal-line. 

75.00: PENALTY! Black makes it a two-score game. 28-20

78.00: The game is winding to a slow close. The Blues are searching for another, but their hands are letting them down. This has been scrappy as.

80.00: The hooter goes and the Blues hold out for a rare win.

FULL TIME

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The final score is Blues 28 (15) Sunwolves 20 (13)

Scorers

Blues
Tries – R. Ioane (4)
Pen – Plummer, Black
Con – Plummer
Drop –
Cards –

Sunwolves
Tries – Matsuda, Helu
Pen – Matsuda (2)
Con – Matsuda (2)
Drop –
Cards – Masirewa (Yellow, 56′), Vella (Yellow, 74′)

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: James Munro
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Glenn Newman

Teams

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams (captain), 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Lua Li, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua.

Sunwolves: 15 Semisi Masirewa, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little (captain), 11 Jamie Henry, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shahel Matshuhashi, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Tom Rowe, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

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