Super Rugby

Blues beat Highlanders in Auckland

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The Blues and Highlanders have played 35 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Auckland side has won 19 matches and lost 16 against the team from Dunedin.

The Blues have won 13 Super Rugby games at home, losing five times against the Highlanders.

  • Leon McDonald’s side has won each of their last two Super Rugby games against the Highlanders, as many as they won in their nine meetings prior (L7).
  • The Highlanders will be hunting for back-to-back Super Rugby wins for the first time since Round 11, 2019 after a come-from-behind win against the Chiefs in Round 2 of this Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.
  • The Blues have won their last four completed Super Rugby home games on the bounce, the last time they enjoyed a longer winning run on home turf was a five-match span from February to May in 2014.
  • Liam Squire is set to play his 50th Super Rugby game and his sixth against the Blues; he has completed 35/37 tackles against the Auckland club in his career.
  • Jona Nareki has gained 138 metres per game this Super Rugby season, 47 metres more than any other player; the Highlanders’ flyer scored a hat-trick and ran for a Super Rugby Aotearoa record 192m in his side’s Round 2 win over the Chiefs.

Match detail

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In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Auckland, New Zealand.

3.00: The Highlanders keep the ball-in-hand, earning a penalty after some patient play. Josh Ioane calls for the tee.

4.00: PENALTY! Ioane opens the scoring. 0-3

6.00: Stephen Perofeta almost latches onto Josh Ioane’s grubber, but the ball beats the fullback to the dead-ball line. The hosts have a penalty, however, and kick to the corner.

7.00: A poor mistake by Akira Ioane, who knocks-on trying to set-up the driving maul.

9.00: The Landers’ scrum, under all sorts of pressure, manages to secure a penalty allowing Josh Ioane to clear.

10.00: TRY! Turnover ball leads to the hosts mounting a counter-attack from the halfway line. Stephen Perofeta starts the attack, slipping two tackles before playing Rieko Ioane in support. Ioane was tackled but not held by Jona Nareki; instead, he got up and offloaded to Otere Black on his inside, and the first-five scores the game’s first try. 5-3

12.00: CONVERSION! Black converts his score. 7-3

15.00: Ethan De Groot is pinged by referee Mike Fraser for collapsing. Black kicks the penalty to the Highlanders’ 22.

17.00: Leon McDonald’s forwards have the ascendency, and they are looking to scrum at every opportunity.

18.00: TRY! Caleb Clarke is over in the corner for his second score of the tournament. Black’s long cut-out pass to Rieko Ioane took out the defenders, leaving Ioane and Clarke two-on-one with Connor Garden-Bachop, who had no price. Ioane drew Garden-Bachop before putting the winger away in the corner. 12-3

19.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 14-3

23.00: The Blues keep the Highlanders pinned inside their half. The visitors cannot get out of their half and are resorting to kick-chases or box-kicks.

24.00: Hoskins Sotutu races away through the poor defence. The number eight plays Dalton Papali’i in support, but the flanker is tackled short of the line. Tony Brown’s men are under the pump here.

26.00: Manaaki Selby-Rickit is caught offside, Black calls for the tee.

28.00: PENALTY! Black cannot miss from in front. 17-3

31.00: Josh Ioane clears from his 22; however, the ball flies directly out into touch. Oh, dear! Blues have an attacking lineout.

33.00: Ioane clears the danger by booting a penalty to the Blues’ 22.

34.00: NO TRY! Dalton Papali’i wins the turnover near his try line. Harry Plummer starts the counter-attack, sending Akira Ioane away down the touchline. The flanker fends off a cover-defender before sending his brother Rieko away for a 40-metre dash to the try line; however, the TMO cancels the try for a slight forward pass. That is a rubbish call. 17-3

35.00: Akire Ioane was taken out late by Hugh Renton, Black kicks to the corner. Jona Nareki, last weekend’s star, is off the field because of an injury.

37.00: The Highlanders have conceded seven penalties to two, so the ref has a word with Aaron Smith. Black kicks to the corner.

38.00: NO TRY! What a let-off for the Highlanders! The Blues went to their driving maul and powered their way over the line; however, hooker Luteru Tolai knocked-on on the goal-line. 17-3

39.00: The Blues stray offside allowing the visitors to clear the danger. How are the Highlanders only 14 points down?

40.00: YELLOW CARD! Josh Dickson is sent to the bin for taking out Clarke in the air. 17-3

40.00: McDonald’s men have the last attack inside the opposition’s 22 after winning another penalty, but they cannot make anything of the opportunity. Instead, it is the visitors who win a last-ditch penalty on the blues’ 22.

42.00: Nothing comes of the attack as Jonathan Ruru kicks the ball into touch.

The halftime score was Blues 17 Highlanders 3

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Auckland at Eden Park.

43.00: TRY! Emoni Narawa is sent away by Stephen Perofeta after Plummer’s well-timed pass put the fullback in the clear. The try came from another powerful driving maul, which pinned the Highlanders near their try line before the Blues went wide. 22-3

45.00: MISS! Black cannot convert. 22-3

47.00: A couple of changes being made by both teams. Papali’i is off for an HIA.

50.00: TRY! Another powerful driving maul by the hosts, only this time the forwards finish the job. Kurt Eklund gets up with the ball after only just coming onto the field. 27-3

52.00: CONVERSION! Black lands his third conversion. Game over! 29-3

53.00: Blues offside, Ioane kicks to the corner.

54.00: TRY! Ash Dixon gets up with the ball after a bulldozing driving maul by the Otago forwards. 29-8

55.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 29-10

58.00: A bit scrappy at the minute, the Blues go close, although nothing comes from the attack, they earn a kickable penalty.

60.00: PENALTY! Black extends his side’s winning lead. 32-10

64.00: TRY! Plummer goes close, but it tackled short of the line; however, he waits for support before popping to the number eight to cross for the score. The try came from Narawa’s gather and run from halfway. 37-10

66.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 39-10

69.00: the visitors will not go away, they need some more tries though if they want to take away the bonus-point.

72.00: TRY! Folau Fakatava powers over from a blindside break off an attacking maul. 39-15

73.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 39-17

76.00: The Blues are looking for another score to protect the bonus-point, they march into the 22, but the ball is turned over by the visitors, who decide to run from their 22 to the opposition’s 10m before the ball goes out into touch.

79.00: The Highlanders keep coming, although, they cannot seem to hang onto the ball, killing any chance of another score.

81.00: The hooter sounds, that’s the ball game, folks.

FULL TIME

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The final score is Blues 39 (17) Highlanders 17 (3)

Scorers

Blues
Tries – Black, Clarke, Narawa, Eklund, A. Ioane
Pen – Black (2)
Con – Black (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Highlanders
Tries – Dixon, Fakatava
Pen – J. Ioane
Con – J. Ioane (2)
Drop –
Cards – Dickson (Yellow, 40′)

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Paul Williams

Blues

15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Akira Ioane, 5. Sam Darry, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 James Lay, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tanielu Tele’a, 23 Emoni Narawa

Highlanders

15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Ngatugnane Punivai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Hugh Renton, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ethan De Groot

Replacements:
16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Bryn Evans, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Billy Harmon

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