Super Rugby

Blues beat Highlanders in Dunedin




The Highlanders have played the Blues 33 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Highlanders have won 16 matches, but lost 17 times.

The Highlanders’ 16 wins give them a record of winning 46% of their matches against the Blues regardless of venue.

  • The Blues won two of their last three Super Rugby games against the Highlanders (L1), including a 27-24 win when they last met in Round 3 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
  • The Auckland side will be hunting for back-to-back wins against the Otago franchise for the first time since 2011.
  • The Highlanders have won their last seven home games on the bounce against the Blues in Super Rugby; although, those victories have come by an average margin of just seven points per game.
  • The Blues have won only three of their last 35 away games against fellow New Zealand opponents in Super Rugby (L32), losing their previous two on the bounce.
  • The Highlanders have combined for 20+ defenders beaten in each of their last three Super Rugby games, after having done so only once in their eight games prior.
  • Otago, however, has only managed to reach 20+ defenders beaten in only one of their last 12 games against the Blues.
  • Blues’ duo Akira Ioane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi have each made 56 tackles from 58 attempts in Super Rugby Aotearoa for a success rate of 97% -higher than any other player to have attempted at least 40 tackles.

Match detail

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1.00: PEEEEP! Beauden Barrett gets us underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, for this Round Eight Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Highlanders and Blues.

2.00: There has been a late change to the Blues line-up. Blake Gibson is out. Tony Lamborne moves from the bench to the flank and Aaron Carroll comes onto the bench to wear the No 20 jersey. The Highlanders concede a penalty after Barrett’s bomb.

3.00: NO TRY! The Blues power over the line from a well-worked driving maul by the visitors’ forwards; however, Aaron Smith’s boot gets underneath the ball, so the call is “held-up”.

5.00: The visitors have two 5-metre attacking scrums after being kept out at the first attempt.

6.00: Reset.

7.00: TRY! A big scrum by the Blues sees Akira Ioane pick up the ball from the base of the scrum, break blind and crash through the isolated Scott Gregory. 0-5

8.00: MISS! The conversion is no good. 0-5

10.00: TRY! Caleb Clarke gathers the cross-kick, bounces Josh Ioane and pops on his inside to the supporting Rieko Ioane, who put Finlay Christie away to score. 0-10

12.00: CONVERSION! Barrett adds the extras. 0-12

13.00: The Landers win a penalty. Josh Ioane calls for the tee.

15.00: PENALTY! The hosts are on the board. 3-12

17.00: The Highlanders have a lineout on their 10m; they win a penalty for offsides again. This time, the hosts kick to the 22, instead of taking the points.

19.00: Discipline is a problem for Leon MacDonald’s charges, who have shipped four in a row. Mitch Hunt kicks to the corner.

20.00: TRY! Ash Dixon crashes over the line after a solid driving maul. The Blues lost their shape, which allowed the highlanders’ forwards to shift the maul and power over. 8-12

21.00: CONVERSION! Ioane’s kick is good. 10-12

23.00: Shannon Frizell wins an important penalty at the breakdown to relieve the pressure inside their 22.

25.00: It’s all Highlanders at the moment. They go 11 phases inside the Blues’ 22 before Hunt hits the breakdown from the side. Dixon should have passed in the build-up, and Otago would be leading.

28.00: NO TRY! The Highlanders have the Blues on the back foot, but Dalton Papalii intercepts a loose pass by Jeff Thwaites and races 75 metres to score under the posts. However, Karl Tu’inukuafe is adjudged to have interfered with Aaron Smith in the build-up, and the TMO chalks off the try. 10-12

30.00: PENALTY! Ioane puts the hosts ahead. Boy, that is lucky. 13-12

31.00: TRY! Clarke combines with Christie after sucking in two defenders following a turnover inside the Blues’ half. Christie draws a defender and sends TJ Faiane away for their third try. 13-17

33.00: MISS! Barrett’s radar is off today. 13-17

35.00: PENALTY! Ioane lands his third goal of the night. 16-17

37.00: The Blues win a penalty and opt for a scrum.

40.00: TRY! Ofa Tu’ungafasi barges through several defenders to increase the Blues’ lead on the stroke of halftime. 16-22

41.00: CONVERSION! Barrett adds the extras. 16-24

The halftime score was Highlanders 16 Blues 24

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Dunedin. Christie puts his box-kick out on the full; lineout on the Blues’ 22 to the hosts.

42.00: Papalii wins the penalty at the breakdown to relieve the pressure.

43.00: TRY! Christie has a double. The scrumhalf dots down after combining with Clarke on the left-wing. The try came from a turnover before Barrett shaped to kick, but instead, the All Blacks first-five threw a long skip three cut-out pass to Clarke, who then sent Christie away. 16-29

45.00: MISS! Barrett is 2/5 tonight. 16-29

48.00: A couple of reset scrums as the teams grab a breather.

51.00: Ayden Johnstone gives away a short-arm penalty for an early engagement. Tony Brown decides to make some changes to the front row. Blues want another scrum.

53.00: Pari Pari Parkinson is caught offside. Patrick Tuipulotu opts for another scrum because Akire Ioane has had a superb game off the base of the set-piece.

54.00: Sio Tomkinson crunches Faiane, who stays down after the hit, and the ball is lost forward. The Landers get out of jail.

56.00: The Blues get the penalty.

57.00: PENALTY! Barrett can’t miss from in front. 16-32

60.00: The Highlanders need seven here to have any hope of claiming an unlikely win. Mitch hunt kicks to the corner.

62.00: A series of penalties by the hosts lead to another penalty being kicked to the corner.

63.00: Poor from the home team, but good defence by the visitors to hold up the maul.

66.00: Aaron Mauger’s men keep coming; they win another penalty, Smith goes quickly but the ball is lost forward near the line. Time is running out.

69.00: Mauger’s men are all over the visitors but they cannot breach the white wall.

71.00: The Landers have another attacking lineout near the Blues’ goal-line.

73.00: A scuffle breaks out as tensions flare. Mr Fraser has a word to the Blues captain about multiple penalties.

74.00: YELLOW CARD! Sione Mafileo is sent to the bin. 16-24

75.00: Jesse Parete jumps over the ruck NFL running back style, but he is held up. Scrum to the Landers. This is some immense defending by the Blues.

76.00: TRY! Shannon Frizell gets his team’s second. 21-32

77.00: MISS! The kick is no good. 21-32

79.00: Scrum to the Blues.

81.00: The siren sounds, the ball is booted into touch for the visitors’ first win under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium, and first win in Dunedin since 2011.


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The final score is Highlanders 21 (16) Blues 32 (24)


Tries – Dixon, Frizell
Pen – J. Ioane (3)
Con – J. Ioane
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – A. Ioane, Christie (2), Faiane, Tu’ungafasi
Pen – B. Barrett
Con – B. Barrett (2)
Drop –
Cards – Mafileo (Yellow, 74′)

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Chris Hart



15 Mitch Hunt, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Scott Gregory, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Jeff Thwaites, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Jesse Parete, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Jona Nareki


15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jacob Pierce, 20 Aaron Carroll, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Harry Plummer

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