Super Rugby

Blues beat Highlanders in Auckland




The Blues have played the Highlanders 31 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Blues winning 16 matches and the Highlanders, 15.

Those 16 Super Rugby victories give the Blues a record of winning 52% of their matches – regardless of venue against the Highlanders.

  • The Highlanders have won six of their last seven Super Rugby games against the Blues, including their last four on the bounce.
  • The Blues are winless in their last 20 Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition (D1, L19); their last derby win came in Round 1, 2016 against the Highlanders (33-31).
  • The Highlanders have won just two of their last nine games away from home against fellow New Zealand opposition (L7), trailing at half-time in eight of those nine fixtures.
  • Rieko Ioane (Blues) has scored seven tries in his last four Super Rugby games on home turf, as well as providing three try assists.
  • Shannon Frizell (Highlanders) scored a hat-trick of tries in his only previous game against the Blues in Super Rugby and has scored four tries in his last three games.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

There is a moment’s silence before kickoff. Sonny Bill Williams is not playing and has taken compassionate leave because of last week’s horrific attack in Christchurch.

1.00: PEEEEP! John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ finishes and we are underway in Auckland. The conditions are perfect in the City of Sails.

2.00: Marius van der Westhuizen brings the players back for the first penalty of the night. Marty Banks calls for the tee.

3.00: PENALTY! Banks put the visitors on the scoreboard. 0-3

5.00: Akira spills the ball, killing a good attacking move for the Blues.

6.00: Massive scrum by the Blues. They win the turnover at the ruck and win a penalty after Tyrel Lomax is caught for not rolling away. There are some cheers as the hosts kick to the corner.

8.00: Pari Pari Parkinson comes through the middle of the maul and wins the turnover after holding up an attacker.

10.00: TRY! Rieko Ioane is over for his eighth try in last four home games. It’s only the first try in the opening quarter of a Super Rugby game that the Blues have scored, this season. The try came from a quick lineout and some fancy footwork by the winger. 5-3

12.00: MISS! Harry Plummer pushes his kick wide. 5-3

15.00: The Highlanders have a scrum in the centre of the field. Aaron Smith breaks blind. Shannon Frizell carries; the visitors are 10 metres out from the Blues’ try-line.

16.00: Blake Gibson is caught offsides at the breakdown; the Highlanders opt for a centre-field scrum, under the posts.

18.00: TRY! Big scrum by the Highlanders. They bulldoze the Blues until the scrum disintegrates. The referee would have awarded a penalty try but Luke Whitelock picked up the ball and dived under some bodies to get the five. 5-8

19.00: CONVERSION! Banks adds easy extras. 5-10

20.00: The Blues win a penalty straight from the restart and Plummer will take a shot at goal.

22.00: MISS! Plummer shanks his attempt well wide. He was kicking at a 37% success rate before tonight’s two early misses.

23.00: Thomas Umaga-Jensen is caught offsides, giving Plummer another shot at goal, this time from in front.

24.00: PENALTY! Plummer, finally, finds his radar. 8-10

26.00: Superb kick by Plummer, who puts his side back inside the Highlanders’ 22.

27.00: The Highlanders win a penalty, Dillon Hunt takes it quickly and launches a counter-attack from inside his half. A kicking game ensues, but Banks, who is getting some distance with his kicks, finds touch.

29.00: Ben Smith breaks from deep inside his own half. He beats five defenders before linking with Tom Franklin. the ball is recycled and sent wide to the right. The attack ends with a knock on, seven phases later.

30.00: That was imperious by Smith, playing in his 148th Super Rugby match, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The scrum is reset.

32.00: Tanielu Tele’a breaks down the sideline after Jonathan Ruru went blind. The winger keeps the ball infield, but Gibson can’t hang on to the ball.

33.00: TRY! It was sensational from Melani Nanai, who beat three defenders before offloading to the supporting Thomas Faiane. The second five played an inside pass to the insatiable Rieko Ioane to score. The move started after Akira Ioane won a turnover from behind his 10-metre line.

34.00: CONVERSION! Plummer adds the two. 15-10

36.00: Akira is caught offsides, this time, allowing Banks a chance to immediately reduce the Blues’ lead.

37.00: PENALTY! Banks strikes the ball straight through the middle of the uprights. 15-13

38.00: Hunt takes out Ruru, but the referee pings him for offside. Plummer kicks a great kick deep into the Highlanders’ 22.

39.00: Ruru tries to combine with James Parsons, but the hooker is tackled into touch. That was average from the Blues.

40.00: Banks launches another big kick, which almost takes out a security officer. Parsons’ throw is skew and the Blues steal the lineout. They cannot make anything of it because of the hooter sounding.

The halftime score was Blues 15 Highlanders 13

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Eden Park, Auckland for this New Zealand derby.

42.00: A good start by the hosts ends when Patrick Tuipulotu loses the ball in contact. Scrum to the Dunedin franchise.

44.00: NO TRY! Tom Robinson walks in under the sticks after a wonderful offload from Nanai, but after a TMO review, the try is chalked off for a forward pass. It looked flat from the replays, though.

45.00: The scrum has to be reset again. From the second angle, the TMO was right to disallow the try. Nanai’s pass was indeed forward.

47.00: Hunt bursts into Blues territory, the ball is recycled and sent right before a knock-on ends the Highlanders’ attack. Ben Smith is getting treatment on his fingers after someone stood on his hand – ouch!

48.00: Tuipulotu is pinged at the ruck offering Banks a chance to put his side back in front.

49.00: PENALTY! Over it goes and the visitors lead. 15-16

50.00: Oh dear, Ben Smith kicks the ball out on the full.

51.00: The Blues win a penalty after an infringement at the lineout. There are some groans in the crowd because Plummer calls for the tee.

52.00: PENALTY! Plummer splits the uprights. 18-16

54.00: TRY! Tevita Li scores his first try of the season. It came from Plummer’s misplaced up-and-under. Li got up, challenged by Rieko Ioane and Nanai, collected the ball and sped away for the five-pointer. 18-21

55.00: CONVERSION! Banks adds the extras. 18-23

56.00: A mistake from Plummer, but the Blues have possession.

57.00: TRY! The Blues strike back. Faiane used his powerful legs to get through two tackles before offloading to Nanai, in support. The fullback races away to score near the touchline. 23-all

58.00: MISS! Otere Black, taking over from Plummer, can’t put his team back in front. 23-all

61.00: The Blues jump the gun; there must have been six players offsides. Banks decided to kick for touch.

62.00: The imperious Akira Ioane wins the turnover after holding up a maul. He has been superb in defence tonight; he has only missed one tackle coming into tonight’s game and he’s been instrumental in this contest.

63.00: MASSIVE SCRUM! The Highlanders bulldoze the Blues, who didn’t look set despite it being their put-in.

64.00: PENALTY! Banks slots the penalty from in front. 23-26

65.00: OOPS! Waisake Naholo, who has been quiet tonight, drops Black’s restart, gifting the Blues an attacking scrum on the Highlanders’ 22.

67.00: Big scrum by the visitors. Ma’a Nonu comes up too quickly and is pinged for offsides.

68.00: YELLOW CARD! It’s that man Nanai again. The fullback breaks into the Highlanders’ 22, but he can’t find support. The move is killed, but the referee is conferring with the TMO for a tip-tackle by Naholo on Robinson. The replay shows it to be foul play. 23-26

69.00: Great work by the Highlanders’ forwards. Liam Coltman gets through the middle of the maul, gets his hands on the ball and wins the turnover as the blues are held up.

70.00: The Highlanders win a scrum-penalty for an illegal wheel of the scrum by the Blues.

74.00: TRY! The Blues go 19 phases, punching their way with pick and drives. Their composure and discipline were immense before Tuipulotu crashes through three defenders to give Leon MacDonald’s men a late lead. 28-26

75.00: CONVERSION! Black slots the kick. 30-26

76.00: OH DEAR, it’s all going wrong, now! Banks kicks the restart into touch.

77.00: Mr van der Westhuizen awards the home team a penalty because he caught the Highlanders’ backline offsides from the scrum. Black calls for the tee.

78.00: PENALTY! Black extends his team’s lead to seven. 33-26

79.00: Tuipulotu, who has been immense since he came on, wins the turnover to start a counter-attack; however, the attack breaks down after a knock on.

81.00: The hooter sounds; the Highlanders attack inside the Blues’ 22, but Jackson Hemopo loses the ball in contact. Game over! The blues have broken a three-year winless streak in Kiwi derbies. 


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The final score is Blues 33 (15) Highlanders 26 (13)


Tries – R. Ioane (2), Nanai, Tuipulotu
Pen – Plummer (2), Black
Con – Plummer, Black
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Whitelock, Li
Pen – Banks (4)
Con – Banks (2)
Drop –
Cards – Naholo (Yellow, 68′)

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Brendan Pickerill
TMO: Ben Skeen


Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Patelesio Tomkinson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.

Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman.

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  1. Pingback: Rieko Ioane stars as Blues beat Highlanders - Super Rugby | Super 15 Rugby and Rugby Championship News,Results and Fixtures from Super XV Rugby

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