Super Rugby

Blues beat Western Force in Auckland




The Blues are undefeated in their last eight Super Rugby games against the Western Force (W7, D1), last tasting defeat against them in Round 5, 2008 (27-17).

The Blues have won nine of their last 10 Super Rugby games on home turf (L1), including their last four on the bounce; they have conceded just seven second-half points across their last two home games.

  • The Western Force have lost their last 10 consecutive away games against New Zealand opposition in Super Rugby, a streak twice as long as any other they’ve endured in such fixtures.
  • The Force (48%) are the only team to have crossed the gain line on less than half of their total carries this Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign.
  • Finlay Christie has been directly involved in nine tries (5 tries, 4 try assists) in his last eight starts in Super Rugby, including two tries and one try assist in his last two starts.
  • The Blues are looking to stage a Super Rugby final for the first time in 19 years, while the Force is looking for a first win.
  • The Force has not beaten the Blues at Eden Park since 2008, the only time they have beaten the Auckland side away.

Match detail

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1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in the City of Sails for this make-or-break contest.

2.00: A win for the Blues will give them a home Super Rugby final for the first time in 19 years (2003). A loss will knock Leon MacDonald’s men out of the tournament.

5.00: Otere Black’s bomb goes out on the full, the Force will have a lineout inside the opposition’s half.

7.00: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti contests the Force lineout throw and wins possession. The Blues attack, but the slippery ball is lost, and the Aussies clear the ball to the Kiwis’ 22.

9.00: The Blues have the early ascendency in the set-pieces and rucks, winning a lineout, a scrum free-kick, and a turnover at the breakdown.

10.00: TRY! TJ Faiane’s crossfield kick is gathered by Mark Telea, who bursts through the defenders. The ball is recycled to Rieko Ioane, taking out three defenders with a switch pass to Hoskins Sotutu, who races away to score. 5-0

12.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 7-0

14.00: Eklund and Sotutu’s tackle isolates the carrier, and Tom Robinson wins the penalty. Black kicks to the 22.

15.00: Superb defending by the Force, who wins the penalty at the ruck.

17.00: Fergus Lee-Warner loses his side’s second lineout, but the ball is recovered in the next phase and cleared.

19.00: The Blues are looking good after the first quarter, their early try has settled the nerves, and it looks to be a home final on the cards. Both teams looking to play in the other team’s half, and are kicking a lot of ball away.

22.00: The Western Force is losing the battle of the breakdown; they had two good opportunities at points, but botched the attacks.

25.00: The Blues up the tempo, they are inside the Force’s 22, but some excellent work by Pumas prop Santiago Medrano sees the visitors win a penalty and clear their lines.

27.00: Another miscommunication at lineout time for the Aussies, they have been poor in the set-pieces so far.

28.00: TRY! Mark Telea takes Rieko Ioane’s bounce-pass and beats Rob Kearney to the corner with an early dive. That try came from patience, but also another lineout error by the visitors. 12-0

30.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the touchline conversion. 14-0

32.00: This game has had a few head knocks, injuries, and big hits because of hospital passes. Robinson leaves for an HIA. Jake Strachan has already left for a failed HIA, too.

34.00: TRY! Dalton Papalii goes between the posts to grab his team’s third. Akira Ioane stole a lineout, the Blues went through the phases before Sotutu’s deft pass opened up the Force’s defence. 19-0

35.00: CONVERSION! Black converts. 21-0

38.00: TRY! Sotutu crashes over after a pick-and-drive from Alex Hodgman’s strong run. It’s all Blues, who finish the game off with another well-worked try. 26-0

40.00: CONVERSION! Black lands his fourth kick. 28-0

The halftime score was Blues 28 Western Force 0

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Auckland.

43.00: A foot on the touchline saves the Blues, who were under pressure. The Force cannot get a break.

47.00: TRY! Feleti Kaitu’u crashes over from close range, the visitors needed that. 28-5

49.00: CONVERSION! Ian Prior adds the extras. 28-7

50.00: The Blues lose a rare lineout.

54.00: Karl Tu’inukuafe survives a TMO review for foul play.

57.00: TRY! Tevita Kuridrani powers his way through Finlay Christie’s tackle to score by the posts. 28-12

58.00: CONVERSION! Prior adds the extras. 28-14

61.00: The Blues are looking to reassert themselves, they try to set up a midfield maul; it worked because they win the penalty.

63.00: Black calls for the tee.

64.00: PENALTY! Black extends the lead to 17 with less than 17 minutes to play. 31-14

68.00: The Blues are back on top. Sotutu’s grubber almost causes a calamity inside the Force’s goal-line, but Kyle Godwin cleared to his 22.

69.00: TRY! Zarn Sullivan’s quick-fire pass sends Telea in for his second – start printing the tickets. 36-14

70.00: NO TRY! YELLOW CARD! The try is chalked off after Ray Niuia’s cleanout on Godwin at a previous ruck is deemed to be dangerous. 31-17

75.00: The Force is looking for another, they have been good since the break.

78.00: TRY! Rob Kearney is put away by Richard Kahui after Domingo Miotti’s deft pass. 31-19

79.00: CONVERSION! Miotti adds the extras. 31-21

81.00: Nothing comes from the last attack. The Blues will host another Super Rugby final; it’s their first at home since 2003.


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The final score is Blues 31 (28) Western Force 21 (0)


Tries – Sotutu (2), Telea, Papalii
Pen – Black
Con – Black (3)
Drop –
Cards – Niuia (Yellow, 70′)

Western Force
Tries – Kaitu’u, Kuridrani, Kearney
Pen –
Con – Prior (2), Miotti
Drop –
Cards –

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



15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman

16 Ray Niuia, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 AJ Lam

Western Force

15 Jake Strachan, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Ollie Callan, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson

 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Rob Kearney

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