The first Super Rugby match this weekend is in Auckland where the Blues host Australian rivals the Queensland Reds at Eden Park.
The Blues have played the Reds 22 times in Super Rugby and both teams have won ten, lost ten and drawn two.
- The Blues are undefeated in their last three games against the Reds (W2, D1); the last and only time they went longer without a loss against them was a four-game win streak from 2005 to 2008.
- The Reds have won just two of their previous 10 games away from home against the Blues (D1, L7), with the most recent victory in such a fixture coming back in 2012.
- The Auckland side succumbed to a 20-10 defeat to the Rebels in their most recent game against Australian opposition, after having previously been undefeated in 11 consecutive games against them (W10, D1).
- The Blues have made 121 carries per game this season, more than any other side in the competition; however, they’ve gained just the fifth most metres per game of any team (435m).
- The Reds’ Samu Kerevi has made 146 carries this season, the third most of any player and the second most of any back behind the Stormers’ Damian de Allende (152).
- Four Wallabies will be returning to the Reds starting XV including Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Tui and Samu Kerevi
- The Queensland side will be without two of their stars Izack Rodda and Izaia Perese who are recovering from injuries
- The Reds will be looking for a 2012 repeat when the team last beat the Blues at Eden Park
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Jerome Kaino walks out with his children to a standing ovation at Eden Park for his last game in a Blues jersey.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Super Rugby round 17 and it is cold and icy in Auckland this evening.
2.00: The Reds get the first penalty of the game at the scrum after a couple of resets. They’ll take the points.
3.00: PENALTY! Jono Lance slots the kick from out in front. 0-3
6.00: Stephen Perofeta misses his penalty touch-finder. The Reds counter-attack from their 22 and end up winning a scrum and scrum-penalty. Alex Hodgman has been the culprit.
10.00: George Smith wins another turnover at the breakdown, the seventh of the game and we’ve not had ten minutes.
11.00: The Reds are harshly pinged at the ruck. Perofeta lines up the kick from in front.
12.00: PENALTY! The standoff levels the scores. 3-all.
14.00: Massive scrum again by the visitors. Hodgman is being dominated. Lance calls for the tee.
15.00: PENALTY! Lance puts his side back in front. 3-6
17.00: The Blues have an attacking lineout just outside the Reds 22.
19.00: The Blues go 11 phases, punching through gaps and going short before losing the ball forward in the red zone.
20.00: TRY! Melani Nanai is over. Rieko Ioane’s long pass sets up the score for the winger, who broke a tackle for his 14th Super Rugby try. 8-6
21.00: MISS! The conversion is wide. 8-6
23.00: YELLOW CARD! Jordan Petaia is in trouble for lifting Michael Collins above the horizontal. The TMO is checked with the referee for foul play and deemed the tackle a foul.
25.00: YELLOW CARD! Taniela Tupou is in the bin for a grass-cutter on two Blues players.
25.00: PENALTY! Perofeta extends the Blues’ lead to five. 11-6
27.00: Duncan Paia’aua thought he was away but the referee calls him back for a knock on in the tackle by Eto Nabuli.
29.00: TRY! Rieko Ioane is in for his 20th Super Rugby try. Sam Nock started the move with a quick-tap penalty at the halfway line. 16-6
30.00: MISS! Another kick sails wide from the flyhalf. 16-6
31.00: TRY! Matt Moulds slides over the whitewash after breaking a tackle. Akira Ioane made the break inside his half, racing away up the field, The ball was recycled, Matt Duffie broke before offloading to Moulds for the score. 21-6
32.00: MISS! Perofeta has left his compass at home. 21-6
36.00: George Smith – again – saves the day with a try-line turnover with his side under the pump. Lance clears. The Reds are back to a full quota of players, but they conceded 13 points in that time.
38.00: The Blues are pinged for not rolling away and slowing the ball down. Lance kicks to the corner.
40.00: The home team has conceded five penalties in the last six minutes. Lance kicks to the corner and the Reds set up another driving maul.
41.00: Akira Ioane makes a huge tackle and the ball is lost forward. Big defence by the Blues.
The halftime score was Blues 21 Reds 6
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand where the Blues have a commanding lead in difficult conditions.
44.00: Hodgman has been shown a small mercy by his coaches and is taken off the field after a horrid night in the scrums.
45.00: PENALTY! Perofeta finds his radar, extending the Blues lead to 18. 24-6
49.00: The Reds win a free-kick at the scrum. Lance takes a quick-tap and clears. Duffie gatherers but is tackled into touch.
51.00: The game has broken open, not because of great attacking play, but because of multiple mistakes by both teams. It’s been laughable at times.
53.00: The Blues are camped on the Reds line.
54.00: TRY! Perofeta is over after six phases of pick-and-goes. In truth, the Reds were never stopping the Blues from that close. 29-6
55.00: CONVERSION! The standoff slots his five-pointer. 31-6
57.00: Another handling error kills an attacking move for the Reds. It’s been the Blues who have been worse, but they have scored all the points and taken their chances, despite being dominated in the set-pieces.
60.00: Duffie’s clearance is short into touch, so Queensland has a good opportunity for points.
62.00: TRY! Caleb Timu’s barnstorming run sets up Duncan Paia’aua’s score. 31-11
62.00: YELLOW CARD! Matiaha Martin is off for multiple infringements on the goal-line.
62.00: MISS! Lance’s conversion is wide. 31-11
66.00: Another scrum-penalty for the Reds at the scrum. Now a free-kick. How has there not been a yellow card for someone in the Blues front-row?
68.00: YELLOW CARD! Sione Mafileo is destroyed and finally, Egon Seconds goes to his pocket.
71.00: TRY! Alex Mafi flops over the whitewash. The Reds backed their driving maul, got the wedge going and bulldozed their opposition. 31-16
72.00: MISS! Lance, going quickly, misses his conversion, and that’s the ball game. 31-16
77.00: PENALTY! Bryn Gatland hits a beauty of a kick to kill the game. 34-16
78.00: Akira Ioane sets up another attack after breaking away. The Blues will finish with a five-metre scrum in the corner.
80.00: TRY! Caleb Clarke barges his way over for his first Super Rugby try. 39-16
81.00: MISS! Jerome Kaino misses the conversion but bows out with a victory in his final match for the Blues. 39-16
The final score is Blues 39 (16) Reds 16 (6)
Tries – Nanai, R. Ioane, Moulds, Perofeta, Clarke
Pen – Perofeta (3), Gatland
Con – Perofeta
Cards – Martin (Yellow, 62′), Mafileo (Yellow, 68′)
Tries – Paia’aua, Mafi
Pen – Lance (2)
Cards – Petaia (Yellow, 23′), Tupou (Yellow, 25′)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 2: Glen Jackson
TMO: Ben Skeen
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jacob Pierce, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Thomas Faiane.
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (Captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Caleb Timu, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Aidan Toua, 23 Filipo Daugunu.