The Blues have lost only one of their last six Super Rugby matches against the Queensland Reds (W4, D1), a 29-28 loss in June 2019; they had won only one of their six meetings prior (L5).
The Blues have won 15 of their last 16 Super Rugby home matches against Australian opposition (L1), including their last six in succession; their only defeat in that span was a 20-10 loss to the Melbourne Rebels (2 June 2018).
- The Queensland Reds have lost their last three Super Rugby matches in succession; the last time they went on a longer losing run in the competition was a four-match span from June 2019 to February 2020.
- The Blues have won 17 of their last 18 Super Rugby matches (L1), including their last 10 on the bounce; they have conceded 19 points per game.
- The Blues have made six-line breaks per game, the second-most by any team in the campaign, and two per game more than the Queensland Reds (4).
- The Reds have lost their last 16 matches in New Zealand. Ouch!
- The Blues (66%) and Reds (60%) have crossed the gain-line on a higher percentage of their total carries than any other team.
- Queensland has made 162 kicks in play collected by the opposition, the joint-most by any team (also Crusaders – 162), and 30 more than the Blues (132).
- The Blues have made 14 offloads resulting in a break, the most by any team in the competition, and five more than the Reds (9).
Players to watch
- Harry Wilson has crossed the gain line on 95 carries, 16 more than any other player, and 38 more than the Blues’ best Mark Telea (57).
- Only the Crusaders’ Bryn Hall (7) has provided more assists than the Blues’ Stephen Perofeta (6).
- James O’Connor (5) has made the most assists of any Australian player in the campaign.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEP! We are underway for this epic clash at Eden Park, Auckland.
2.00: Tate McDermott wins his team a penalty, and James O’Connor kicks 10m out to set up an attacking lineout.
3.00: Albert Anae botches the attacking lineout, scrum Blues.
6.00: Queensland’s 12-phase attack comes to nothing; instead, the Blues win back possession. They begin a sustained counter-attack, which ends in a kickable penalty.
8.00: PENALTY! Stephen Perofeta opens the scoring. 3-0
10.00: Mark Telea wins another turnover to kill a Reds’ attack from inside the 22.
12.00: McDermott gets back to save the day after Tom Robinson charged down O’Connor.
13.00: Bryce Heem is on for Rieko Ioane.
14.00: TRY! Queensland lost a lineout inside their 22. The Blues pounced through Heem, just off the bench, after the substitute took Beauden Barrett’s deft pass, beat Hunter Paisami on the inside, and raced away under the poles. 8-0
15.00: CONVERSION! Perofeta can’t miss. 10-0
17.00: Another turnover inside the Blues’ 22 by the lacklustre Reds.
18.00: TRY! A classic Blues counter-attack from the turnover ends with Caleb Clarke diving over after Ofa Tuungafasi’s cleanout. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck broke out to halfway. Tom Robinson combined with Josh Tucker as the two locks stormed down the field. Tucker got stopped short before Heem went close. Eventually, the ball got recycled quickly to Clarke to score. 15-0
19.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 17-0
21.00: O’Connor, who does not look great, kicks to the corner.
22.00: TRY! Finally, the Reds manage to win an attacking lineout near the Blues’ line. The ball was sent wide to Suliasi Vunivalu, who gathered McDermott’s inside pass, and crashed through Kurt Eklund and Finlay Christie. 15-5
23.00: CONVERSION! O’Connor adds the extras. 17-7
25.00: A good scrum leads to a Reds penalty, the signs are looking up.
27.00: The breakdown penalties are adding up against the Blues.
29.00: O’Connor’s poor stab-kick gives away possession after his forwards did all the hard yards inside the Blues’ 22.
32.00: TRY! Heem has a double after Seru Uru knocked on inside his 22. Clarke won the ball to kick-start the counter-attack. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck sucked in the defenders before putting Perofeta through a big hole. the fullback drew the last defender before sending Heem away. 22-7
33.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 22-7
35.00: James O’Connor beats Beauden Barrett to the bouncing ball to save a try. Finlay Christie won back the ball, but had his try chalked off for playing the ball on the ground.
39.00: TRY! Suliasi Vunivalu’s linebreak set up the score. Uru got stopped short, but Ryan Smith crashed over from the next pick-and-go. 22-12
41.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 22-14
The halftime score was Blues 22 Reds 14
41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.
42.00: TRY! A mistake from the short kick-off leads to Barrett booting a penalty to the corner. From the set piece, the home team shifted the ball wide to Barrett, whose basketball loop-pass put Clarke away. 27-14
43.00: MISS! The ball hits the post. 27-14
45.00: TRY! Beauden Barrett starts and finishes a sensational score. The flyhalf broke from his own before playing Christie in support. Heem again involved set up the next phase where Perofeta’s inch-perfect grubber found Barrett for his 37th Super Rugby try. 32-14
46.00: MISS! Perofeta can’t make his kick. 32-14
48.00: Perofeta is lucky to not be sent off for dangerous play on McDermott. McDermott is livid with the ref because no action is taken; instead, the Blues get a penalty, which they kick to the 22.
50.00: Held up by the Reds before losing their own throw – that is poor from the ref and the hooker.
53.00: The Blues have an attacking scrum on the Reds’ try line – this is it for Thorn’s side.
56.00: a handling error leads to an attacking scrum on the try line.
57.00: TRY! Game over! Barrett pays back Perofeta when the flyhalf combined with Mark Telea to send the fullback away. 37-14
58.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 39-14
63.00: TRY! A sublime attack by the Reds ends with Jock Campbell going through untouched. 39-19
64.00: MISS! O’Connor cannot land the two. 39-19
68.00: TRY! Soane Vikena flops over after a driving maul. 44-19
69.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 46-19
71.00: TRY! Campbell gets another after a stunning run and offload from Vunivalu. 46-24
72.00: CONVERSION! O’Connor makes no mistake. 46-26
75.00: Blues kick to the corner. Here we go!
76.00: Tuaina Tualima is pinged for collapsing the maul before Sam Nock lost the ball trying to score. Another maul coming down.
77.00: TRY! Another powerful maul ends with Vikena flopping over the line for a brace. 51-26
78.00: CONVERSION! Another two. 53-26
81.00: The hooter sounds, the ball flies out – game over!
The final score is Blues 53 (22) Reds 26 (14)
Tries – Heem (2), Clarke (2), B. Barrett, Perofeta, Vikena (2)
Pen – Perofeta
Con – Perofeta (5)
Tries – Vunivalu, Smith, Campbell (2)
Con – O’Connor (3)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Mabey
Assistant Ref 2: Jono Bredin
TMO: Aaron Paterson
Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Tom Robinson, 4 James Tucker, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Jordan Lay, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Adrian Choat, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryce Heem, 23 Zarn Sullivan.
Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott (captain), 8 Seru Uru, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Connor Vest, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Feao Fotuaika, 2 Albert Anae, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Tuaina Tualima, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Lawson Creighton.