Super Rugby

Highlanders beat Blues in Auckland




The Blues kick off the Super Rugby action this weekend in Auckland where they will host former champions the Highlanders.

This match will be the second time this season that these two teams have met as they played each other in February in Dunedin and the Highlanders won 41-31.

  • The Highlanders have won nine of their last 12 games against the Blues, including each of their last three on the bounce; never have they won four in a row against the Auckland club.
  • Indeed, the Highlanders are looking for back-to-back away wins against the Blues for the first time in Super Rugby, after a 16-12 win at Eden Park last term.
  • The Blues are winless in 14 New Zealand derbies (D1, L13); however, their last such win did come in a home game against the Highlanders (February 2016).
  • The Auckland side have the best success rates at both the lineout (91%) and scrum (94%) this season, however, they also have the worst tackle success rate (81%).
  • Three of the six players to make the most tackles this season play for the Highlanders; Luke Whitelock (90, 3rd most), Thomas Franklin (86, 5th) and Dillon Hunt (85, 6th).

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

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

1.00: PEEEEP! The match is underway.

1.00: The Highlanders open the scoring in the first minute as Dillon Hunt crashes over from short range.

2.00: Sopoaga adds the conversion.

5.00: The Highlanders go over again and this time the TMO has to review the try. Frizell is awarded the try.

8.00: The Blues get one back and this time is Jonathan Ruru for the Blues.

9.00: Gatland misses the conversion.

13.00: Penalty to the Blues. Gatland slots it. The Blues trail by 5.

20.00: Penalty to the Blues. Gatland takes the shot and nails it. The Blues trail by one.

23.00: The Highlanders chip the ball ahead and go over to score but the try is reviewed by the TMO and the referee decides not to award it.

27.00: Penalty to the Highlanders from the scrum. Lima Sopoaga takes the kick and just misses to the left.

30.00: The Blues win a line out and run the ball into the Highlanders 22. Their attack slows but then Rieko Ioane slices through and gets to the 5m line. The Highlanders defend and turn the ball over. Sopoaga clears the ball into touch.

33.00: Rob Thompson opens up thee Blues, he is caught but the Highlanders change sides and the ball goes out wide to Shannon Frizell who goes in for the corner and scores his second TRY.

34.00: Sopoaga takes the conversion kick but misses.

37.00: The Highlanders are awarded another penalty. Sopoaga will have a shot at the posts.

38.00: Sopoaga takes the penalty shot and nails it.

40.04: The siren sounds for half-time but there is time for a scrum. The Highlanders win the scrum and run the ball to the half-way line where they kick.

41.00: The Highlanders get the overlap and Tevita Li offloads to Dillon Hunt but he loses the ball with an open try line ahead.

It’s half-time.

The half-time score was Blues 11 Highlanders 20

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

43.00: Tevita Li collects Ruru’s box-kick and charges through the Blues’ defence.

44.00: TRY! Kayne Hammington stretches over the whitewash after Li’s wonderful offload on the sideline to Shannon Frizell. 11-25

45.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga slots the sideline conversion. 11-27

48.00: The Blues have an attacking scrum under the posts.

50.00: Oh dear! The Blues run a blindside move but throw the ball into touch. They then proceed to give away a penalty, and the Highlanders clear.

53.00: Akira Ioane breaks and the Blues have some momentum. However, after some offloads, the Blues give away another penalty. Sopoaga clears to touch.

55.00: Rob Thompson busts through the midfield. The centre is brought down near the Blues’ 22. The ball is lost forward and the Blues have the scrum.

57.00: TRY! Frizell is over for his hat-trick. Ben Smith combines with Aaron Smith for the quick-tap penalty. setting up the score. 11-32

58.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga adds the extras. 11-34

60.00: Both teams are ringing the changes.

63.00: The game’s momentum has been broken by the stoppages for substitutions and injuries. The Blues have a scrum near halfway.

65.00: Matt Duffie saves the day after a clever grubber kick by Waisake Naholo.

68.00: Great interchanging off passes by the Blues. Duffie’s grubber-kick isn’t collected, but Sopoaga, back-tracking, gathers and throws a forward pass. Scrum to the Blues inside the Highlanders’ 22.

70.00: TRY! Tumua Manu strolls in for the score after some excellent handling by Bryn Gatland and Stephen Perofeta. The Ioane brothers started the move from the attacking scrum before Manu finished in the corner. 16-34

71.00: MISS! The conversion is wide. 16-34

75.00: Gatland’s pass is missed by Rieko Ioane and the chance goes begging.

78.00: Ben Smith collects a kick and saves the day after Duffie’s quick thinking.

79.00: Matt Moulds saves the day. The Blues win the ruck and clear, but only to their 22.

81.00: The ball is in touch; game over.


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The final score: Blues 16 (11) Highlanders 34 (20)  


Tries – Ruru, Manu
Pen – Gatland (2)
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Hunt, Frizell (3), Hammington
Pen –  Sopoaga
Con – Sopoaga (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Mabey
Assistant Ref 2: Mike Lash
TMO: Ben Skeen



15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Tinoai Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Mike Tamoaieta, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Neenee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Matt Duffie.


15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

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