Josh Noonan was removed from sideline Super 14 duties at Carisbrook after his mistaken call in the opening round involving the Highlanders.
The assistant referee is the first casualty of Sanzar’s decisions to toughen up on-field rulings and to rate officials in this year’s competition.
He has however been given video replay duties and is scheduled to be on the touchline again in round four
We are waiting for the kick off. The teams are on the field.
1.00: The match is underway. Both teams start by using the boot and the ball changes sides until Michael Hobbs finds touch.
2.00: The Highlanders win the first scrum and boot it downfield to set up a 7m line out.
4.00: Blues win the scrum and they work the ball to the opposite side and they set up a return line out.
5.00: Serge Lilo makes a good break and the Blues retain possession but as they get into the Highlanders 25 Paul Williams loses the ball.
7.00: The Blues are pressing hard at the Highlanders but their defence is holding them out.
8.02: Eventually after waves of attack Paul Williams manages to break the line and bashes over the tryline in the corner.
9.00: Stephen Brett hooks the conversion into the wind and nails it from the touchline. Great kick.
10.00: Well the Highlanders give the perfect response and from a lineout they break the Blues line and Israel Dagg scores in the corner. Cowan’s run created space for Paterson who made the try.
12.00: Hobbs misses the conversion.
14.00: The Highlanders give away a penalty so Stephen Brett takes a shot at the posts and misses.
18.00: The Blues have enjoyed 60% possession so far. They also give away a penalty from the scrum so the Highlanders take another scrum instead of a kick at posts as it is too far out. The Highlanders lose the scrum though.
19.00: The match pauses as John Afoa gets some medical attention. Play resumes.
22.00: The Highlanders are using the boot to good effect as the kick upfield and then chase. The follow up delivers a turn over and they boot the ball into the corner for another 5m lineout.
23.00: The Blues snuff the lineout and the Highlanders pounce. Jason Rutledge drives for the line, he gets stopped and the Highlanders recycle and pass out to Michael Hobbs who bashes his way over the line taking a defender with him and scores the try !
24.00: Hobbs converts his try. Rene Ranger comes on for Toeava.
26.00: Hobbs looks like he is having another storming match. He is running with power and confidence. The Blues give away a penalty so Hobbs boots downfield and sets up another line out just outside the Blues 25.
28.00: Kurtis Haiu gives away another Blues penalty and gets a verbal warning. The Highlanders kick for posts but Hobbs slices it.
30.00:Highlanders win a scrum and swing the ball wide. They look dangerous as they test the Blues defence. Kaino gives away a penalty for not rolling away. Hobbs kicks for touch.
33.00:Hobbs goes in for a tackle and rips the ball off the Blues. The Highlanders are dominating the Blues at the moment.
34.00: Blues kick the ball upfield but Dagg gets back and runs it. He passes to Paterson but the ball goes forward.
35.00; The Blues look hungry now to score before the break. They drive the Highlanders forwards back in the middle of the field and it works as they win a penalty. Brett takes a penalty kick and misses from in front but out of the 25.
37.00:Highlanders win another of their lineouts. They swing the ball out and recycle and change sides but as things start to open up Steven Setephano drops the ball.
39.00: The Highlanders set up a scrum just inside the 25m line. The Blues win the scrum but as they run the ball the Highlanders stop them.
40.12: The siren sounds as the Highlanders lose a line out on the half way line. The Blues boot the ball and Dagg gets to it and kicks it out. It’s half time.
The half time score was Highlanders 12 Blues 7
The second half is underway.
41.00: The Highlanders give away a penalty so Brett kicks for touch.
43.00: A quick Rene Ranger run sets up some great field position for the Blues. They recycle and the Blues attack but Hobbs puts in a great tackle which wins a penalty for the Highlanders. They scrum.
48.00: Still no change to the half time score. The Highlanders are still on the front foot as Cown enjoys a great run mid-field. Setephano gains ground with a little run. Hobbs goes for a drop goal but they are called back for a penalty. Hobbs missed by the way.
51.00: The Blues hit back and Paul Williams scores a try after a kick went wrong. The Blues kicked upfield and it went straight to the Blues players who were on side and they simply ran it and passed to Williams who was open. Luck played a big part.
52.00: Stephen Brett adds the conversion and the Blues lead.
54.00: The Blues get the Highlanders on the backfoot and catch them offgaurd, with a couple of pick and go’s and then out to Rene Ranger who powers over for the Blues.
56.00:Stephen Brett misses the conversion but what a five minute spell from the Blues !
59.00: The Highlanders fight their way back into th Blues half and win a penalty. Israel Dagg takes the kick and nails it.
62.00: The Blues drive into the Highlanders 25. They work the ball up to the line. They drive and then drive again. The Highlanders hold them out but the do give away a penalty and Josh Bekhuis gets sent to the bin.
64.00: The Blues turn down the chance to go for posts and choose to go for the try. After a failed drive they get another penalty and then go for the scrum.
67.00: The Blues keep working towards the Highlanders line but some great defence sees the Highlanders turn the ball over and they win a scrum put in.
70.00: The Highlanders relieve some of the pressure by booting the ball downfield. They do however give the ball back to the Blues just when they needed to hold on to the ball while they are a man down.
73.00: Bekhuis comes back on for the Highlanders which means that they did not concede a point from his card.
74.00: Fetu’u Vainikolo comes on for the Highlanders.
75.00:Vainikolo immediately makes an impact and gets them over the gain line. The Highlanders recycle and then recycle again and then they win a penalty – and get a Blues player in the bin as Rene Ranger gets shown a yellow card.
76.00: The Highlanders run the ball instead of taking the three points but as they go forward the Blues win a penalty! They kick and fail to find touch.
78.00: The Highlanders swing the ball wide.Vainikolo makes ground again and they recycle after he gets stopped. The Highlanders win a scrum feed.
79.00: Cowan feeds the scrum but it all goes wrong and the Blues get the ball and boot it well downfield. The Highlanders attack but Vainikolo loses the ball and knocks on.
80.36: Blues scrum goes down as the siren sounds.
That’s it. Blues win.
The final score is Highlanders 15 Blues 19
Tries – Israel Dagg, M Hobbs
Pen – Israel Dagg
Con – M. Hobbs
Cards – Josh Bekhuis (63) Yellow
Tries – P.Williams 2, Rene Ranger
Con – S Brett 2
Cards – Rene Ranger (76) Yellow
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZ)
Ass. refs: Garratt Williamson (NZ), AN Other/Kane McBride (NZ)
TMO: Kane McBride /Josh Noonan (NZ)
Highlanders :1 Jamie Mackintosh ( vc ) , 2 Jason Rutledge , 3 Clint Newland , 4 Josh Bekhuis , 5 Tom Donnelly , 6 Adam Thomson , 7 Alando Soakai , 8 Steven Setephano , 9 Jimmy Cowan ( c ) , 10 Michael Hobbs , 11 James Paterson , 12 Jayden Hayward , 13 Jason Shoemark , 14 Ben Smith , 15 Israel Dagg
Reserves : 16. Jason Macdonald , 17. Chris King , 18. Hayden Triggs , 19. John Hardie , 20. Sean Romans 21. Robbie Robinson, 22. Fetu’u Vainikolo
Blues :15. Paul Williams , 14. Rudi Wulf , 13. Isaia Toeava , 12. Benson Stanley , 11. Joe Rokocoko , 10. Stephen Brett , 9. Alby Mathewson , 8. Viliami Ma’afu , 7. Serge Lilo , 6. Jerome Kaino , 5. Anthony Boric , 4. Kurtis Haiu , 3. John Afoa , 2. Keven Mealamu , 1. Tony Woodcock
Reserves: 16. Tom McCartney , 17. Charlie Faumuina , 18. Filo Paulo , 19. Peter Saili , 20. Chris Smylie , 21. Daniel Kirkpatrick , 22. Rene Ranger.