The Highlanders have played the Blues 32 times in Super rugby since 1996, the Landers have won 15 matches and lost 17 times.
The Highlanders 15 wins out of 32 matches gives them a record of winning 47% of their matches against the Blues regardless of venue.
- The Otago Highlanders have won 10 of their last 14 matches against the Blues in Super Rugby (L4), succumbing to defeat in their most recent encounter, however (33-26).
- Otago is on a five-game losing streak (excluding draw v Crusaders in Round 5), they haven’t lost more than five in a row since an 11-game slump between Round 15 2012-Round 10 2013.
- The Blues haven’t visited another New Zealand Super Rugby club and come away with the victory since Round 2 2013 (L22), they haven’t beaten the Highlanders on their own track since Round 11 2011 (losing six since that occasion).
- The Highlanders have produced three straight Super Rugby games of 100% goal-kicking (13/13), since 2011 the only other time they have achieved this was Rounds 9-12 2014 (they had a bye in Round 10).
- Rieko Ioane has made 18 clean breaks in Super Rugby 2019 so far, more than any other player, the All Blacks star scored a brace against the Highlanders back in Round 6.
We are waiting for the kickoff.
James Parsons leads out the Blues in his 100th Super Rugby match.
1.00: PEEEEP! Otere Black gets us underway under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.
3.00: Some good work by the Blues to hold up the Highlanders in the tackle and win the scrum.
4.00: Thomas Faiane’s grubber beats Rieko Ioane into touch.
5.00: Ben Smith cleans up at the back, winning a penalty after Faiane goes off his feet at the ruck. Josh Ioane clears.
7.00: Patrick Tuipulotu decides to kick to the corner instead of taking a shot at goal.
9.00: Liam Coltman gets his hands on the ball, winning the penalty. Great work by the hooker after a good lineout drive by the Blues. The ball is not kicked out, and the visitors attack inside the Landers’ 22.
11.00: Superb work by the Highlanders. They stopped an 11-phase attack, winning the turnover to release the pressure.
12.00: The Blues come again after Ma’a Nonu’s charge down, however, the ball is knocked on. Scrum to the hosts, just inside their 22.
13.00: Matt Faddes’ tight touchline kick is returned by Melani Nanai into touch around the halfway line.
16.00: The game is being dominated by the Blues; they’ve made their hosts make 63 tackles to 14. Auckland has enjoyed 77% possession and 84% territory, but they have not scored.
18.00: Great work by the Highlanders at the ruck; they win a penalty for holding before a scuffle breaks out between two disgruntled forwards. Josh Ioane clears to the opposition’s 10m.
20.00: Superb double team on Tevita Li by Jonathan Ruru and Akira Ioane, holding the big winger up in the tackle and winning the scrum feed.
22.00: Ben Smith shepherds Rieko Ioane’s grubber into touch, five metres out from his goal line.
23.00: TRY! Ma’a Nonu breaks the advantage line, ghosting through Daniel Lienert-Brown and Jackson Hemopo before racing to the Highlanders’ 22. He draws two defenders and puts Tom Robinson away in the corner for the opening score of the game. 0-5
24.00: MISS! The conversion attempt is pushed wide. 0-5
26.00: SO CLOSE! The Highlanders almost equalise, but Hemopo is beaten to the bouncing ball by Caleb Clarke, although, the home team get the 5-metre scrum.
27.00: TRY! The Highlanders hit back through Shannon Frizell, who crashes over from close range for his sixth try of the 2019 Super Rugby season. It all came from a poor exit plan. 5-all
29.00: CONVERSION! Ionae puts the Highlanders in the lead. 7-5
30.00: The Highlanders have made 82 tackles to 32, missing eight to none, but they lead. Tyrel Lomax takes his eyes off the ball, knocking on and giving the Blues a scrum inside the Landers’ half.
31.00: BIG SCRUM! The Blues win the penalty for collapsing by the Highlanders’ front row.
33.00: Excellent work by Elliot Dixon, swimming to the middle of the maul and holding up the rolling maul. It was a poorly executed maul from the Blues’ pack.
35.00: James Lentjes is penalised for entering the ruck from the side. Black puts the ball out on the 5m.
36.00: Tuipulotu is taken out in the air before Tom Franklin dives on the ball from an offside position. The Blues opt for a scrum, this time.
37.00: Reset scrum after both front rows go down.
38.00: Reset, again.
39.00: Sio Tomkinson intercepts Akira Ioane’s pass and races from his 5m to the Blues’ 22. The ball is recycled quickly before Faddes loses possession after a cute chip-kick. The bounce of the ball saves the visitors, who are defending a lineout in their 22.
41.00: OH DEAR! Li knocks on with the try-line at his mercy. However, the Highlanders win a penalty. Ben Smith calls for a lineout.
43.00: Superb work by the Blues, who sack the maul. Parsons wins the turnover but passes straight to a Highlander. His blushes are spared because the ball is lost forward. Halftime.
The halftime score was Highlanders 7 Blues 5
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.
43.00: Another turnover conceded by the Blues in the maul after being held up. They need more support in the tight phases.
44.00: Coltman wins another turnover at the breakdown which starts a counter-attack down the right-hand sideline. Faddes can’t beat Faiane, and his inside pass is knocked on.
47.00: Ben Smith tidies up a loose pass and keeps the attack alive. The Highlanders go 10 phases, camped on the Blues’ line before the referee blows the game to a halt.
48.00: The TMO checks for grounding, but Lentjes is short. Scrum to the hosts, five metres out.
49.00: Reset scrum.
50.00: PENALTY TRY! The Blues’ set-piece disintegrates under the pressure of the opposition’s forwards, and the ref has no option but to award the seven because of cynical play. 14-5
53.00: Centre-field scrum to the hosts; they’ll be looking forward to this.
55.00: A good attacking opportunity is squandered by Otago. Dixon broke from the base of the scrum setting up an attack on the Blues’ 22. The ball was sent wide but knocked on by Hemopo.
56.00: INTERCEPT TRY! Faddes intercepts Sam Nock’s pass and races away half the length of the field for his side’s third try of the evening. 19-5
58.00: CONVERSION! Ioane makes no mistake. 21-5
60.00: The Highlanders have all the momentum and look like scoring every time they touch the ball. The visitors are tiring. Faddes’ try has taken the wind out of them. It’ll be hard to come back from this deficit.
63.00: Aaron Mauger’s men are turning the screw; they win another penalty, and Ioane calls for the tee.
65.00: PENALTY! Ioane extends his side’s lead. 24-5
66.00: Ioane drops a certain try after chasing his own kick into the Blues’ 22.
69.00: Mauger’s men win another penalty at the breakdown, allowing Ioane to clear the danger.
73.00: It’s all the Highlanders at the minute, they just can’t add the coup de grâce.
76.00: The hosts are running down the clock expertly at the scrum. The Blues just couldn’t keep up their early momentum and their long wait for an away derby win will continue.
80.00: TRY! Harry Plummer’s cross-kick is gathered by Nanai, who waltzes over for a consolation score. 24-10
81.00: CONVERSION! The conversion is drop-kicked over. 24-12
83.00: The game is restarted. but the home team wins possession, and the game is over after the ball is sent to the stands.
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The final score is Highlanders 24 (7) Blues 12 (5)
Tries – Frizell, Penalty try, Faddes
Pen – J. Ioane
Con – J. Ioane (2)
Tries – Robinson, Nanai
Con – Plummer
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Shane McDermott
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Jordan Hyland.
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1. Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.