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Blues

FULL-TIME
33     31

Highlanders

Super Rugby | Auckland
06:35 (GMT) | 26-02-2016
  • 81
Join us as we head to Canberra next for the clash between the Brumbies and Hurricanes. This one also promises to be a corker!
  • 80
And that is the game! Final score 33-31 to the Blues against the defending champs. Nail-biting stuff to the end.
  • 78
The conversion is good from the corner by Hayden Parker! Game on.
  • 77
3 mins to go and Ben Smith gets one over the try line in the corner for the Highlanders!
  • 76
Things not looking good for the defending champions here. 4 minutes to go, with a 9 point deficit.
  • 73
West adds the extras. Score sitting at 33-24 to the Blues.
  • 72
Glen Jackson goes up to the TMO to check if he can award a try... and we wait. It looks good. And it's a try!
  • 71
Yellow card to Patrick Osborne for a professional foul at the ruck. Straight from the side.
  • 70
Plenty of patience being exercised by the Blues here, picking and going from the ruck inside the Highlanders' 22, building phases and marching forward slowly. 10 minutes to go.
  • 66
Blues rumbling upfield with dangerous intent. They're sniffing victory and will want to end this game on the right side of the scoreboard.
  • 63
Ihaia West successfully slots the penalty, and the Blues take the lead. 26-24 to the Blues!
  • 62
Penalty advantage to the Blues just outside the Highlanders' 22 gives them the opportunity to take the lead. West lines up the kick.
  • 59
A little neck hug on Rene Ranger at the breakdown deemed dangerous, and the penalty goes the way of the Blues. Line-out to them. A bit sloppy, but possession secured.
  • 57
Ihaia West slots a penalty for the Blues to bring the score to 23-24 with the Highlanders still narrowly in the lead.
  • 56
Some exciting rugby being dished out here in the tournament opener. Both the Blues and the Highlanders giving as good as they're getting. And how great isn't it to see Rene Ranger on the field again?
  • 55
The tables turn, as the Blues cough up possession at the ruck. Some relief for the Highlanders.
  • 53
A cheeky little grubber by West gets the Blues a line-out put in inside the Highlanders' red zone.
  • 52
A penalty shot at the posts missed by Lima Sopoaga.
  • 51
Fantastic steal at the breakdown by the Blues, but the referee brings play back to the 5 metre line, with a penalty awarded to the Highlanders for a collapsed maul.
  • 49
Highlanders playing with some intent now, marching their way upfield. Penalty awarded to them inside the Blues' 22, just outside the 5 metre line. Drive from the line-out by Highlanders. Flirting with the try line.
  • 47
Some movement on the reserve benches with both coaches looking to bring on some fresh legs.
  • 46
Line-out just inside the Blues' half, stolen by the home team to give them possession once again. A sloppy knock-on however, gives the Highlanders the put in at the scrum.
  • 44
Blues win back possession though, with the call going their way. Scrum in their own 22. West will be looking to clear this one quickly.
  • 42
West under pressure in his own 22, and his kick to touch puts the Highlanders in a prime position with the line-out, won by Dixon.
  • 41
And here we go - 2nd half underway at Eden Park. Highlanders in front.

Half Time

  • 40
Lima Sopoaga adds the conversion - crucial late score as the Highlanders take a 24-20 lead into HALF-TIME break. There were plenty of errors, but some sublime moments of magic from both teams. See you in 10 minutes!
  • 39
SMITH MAGIC!!! Aaron Smith delivers a sublime box kick and Waisake Naholo makes up for conceding the penalty to grab the bouncing ball and score!
  • 37
West slots it from just on 40m out - 20-17
  • 36
Waisake Naholo is lucky that is not a yellow card - deliberate knock-on
  • 35
Now the Highlanders have some momentum, working their way into the Blues' half. However, a breakdown penalty ends that move!
  • 33
Lima Sopoaga adds the extras and it is all tied up at 17-all
  • 32
SHOW AND GO! Highlanders now looking to get back in the game and they are quickly up to the Blues 22. Teihorangi Walden produces a great dummy and scores
  • 32
Highlanders now looking to get back in the game and they are quickly up to the Blues 22.
  • 30
Ihaia West, from 35m on the angle, slots the penalty and the Blues stretch their lead to 17-10
  • 29
Penalty to the Blues for playing a man in the air and West gets another shot at goal.
  • 28
The Blues are straight back into Highlanders territory - all the momentum with the home team now.
  • 27
Ihaia West adds the extras and the Blues lead 14-10
  • 26
POWER PLAY! Blake Gibson just smashes through the defenders as the Blues hit the front with a second try!
  • 24
Ihaia West, from about 40m out, pushes it wide - not his best day so far.
  • 23
Blues looking to get straight back in, working through the phases and into the Highlanders half - where they win a breakdown penalty.
  • 21
Lima Sopoaga slots the penalty and the Highlanders lead 10-7
  • 20
Rediculous penalty by referee Glen Jackson - and then makes it worse with a comment about 'jumping early' when the player was attempting to charge down the ball.
  • 19
West adds the extras to level it up at 7-all
  • 18
Moment of magic from Ihaia West - a turnover from a line-out, West's cross-field kick, good bounce and Melani Nanai Vai is over. GREAT SCORE!
  • 17
Blues pinned deep inside their half and West forced to make a clearance from inside his in-goal area.
  • 16
It has taken 16 minutes for the first scrum to make it's appearance - despite the litany of errors.
  • 14
Now it is the Highlanders' turn to cough up possession, near the Blues 22. Lots of early-season rustiness.
  • 13
Blues cough up possession again and Sopoaga drives them back deep into their half.
  • 12
Blues desperate to get into the game, but they are met with some stern resistance and West goes to the air
  • 9
Lima Sopoaga adds the extras and the defending champions lead 7-0
  • 8
The Smith-show produces the first try - Aaron to ben from a ruck close to the line and the power of Ben Smith gets him through two defenders.
  • 6
Highlanders pinning the Blues inside their half and Bryn Hall goes to the air. Penalty against the Blues at the breakdown - errors costing the home team.
  • 4
Blues coughing up some early possession and the Highlanders can releave the pressure.
  • 2
Ihaia West butchers a sitter!
  • 1
Early penalty to the Blues, Highlanders offside.
  • 0
We are underway in Auckland. Aaron Smith puts the ball out on his own 10m line.
  • -5
Teams have taken tp the field and there will be a moment's silence for the victims of the cyclone that destroyed so much in Fiji.
  • -10
Conditions are fine, with light winds. It is a balmy evening.
  • -15
The Highlanders may have the coaching staff, but the departure of a few key players - such as Nasi Manu and John Hardie, both to Edinburgh.
  • -20
The Blues are under new management, All Black Tana Umaga having taken charge. They won all three their pre-season matches and have looked impressive. They will be looking to use homeground advantage to upset the defending champions.
  • -30
WELCOME to the opening match of the 2016 Super Rugby season!!! The tournament gets underway in Auckland with the Blues hosting the defending champions, the Highlanders.
Mc blues logo 80x50
Blues
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
START LINE UP
  • 15 Lolagi Visinia
  • 14 Melani Nanai Vai
  • 13 Male Sa'u
  • 12 George Moala
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 8 Steven Luatua
  • 7 Blake Gibson
  • 6 Joe Edwards
  • 5 Josh Bekhuis
  • 4 Patrick Tuipulotu
  • 3 Sione Mafileo
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
RESERVES
  • 23 Rene Ranger
  • 22 Matt McGahan
  • 21 Billy Guyton
  • 20 Kara Pryor
  • 19 Akira Ioane
  • 18 Charlie Faumuina
  • 17 Namatahi Waa
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
START LINE UP
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Teihorangi Walden
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Liam Squire
  • 7 Shane Christie
  • 6 Elliot Dixon
  • 5 Joe Wheeler
  • 4 Thomas Franklin
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
RESERVES
  • 23 Matt Faddes
  • 22 Hayden Parker
  • 21 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 20 Dan Pryor
  • 19 Alex Ainley
  • 18 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 17 Brendon Edmonds
  • 16 Ash Dixon
Mc article jer nimo de la fuente jaguares 800

S18 preview. Round One, Part One

Wed, 24 Feb 2016 22:33

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Friday matches in Part One of Super Rugby's Round One.

While there are three new teams in the expanded version of what was already a bloated competition, there is bound to be excitement in the opening weekend of the 18-team tournament.

The excitement could come in the form of a host of new coaches - three of whom will be in action on the opening day.

It starts with the first match of the weekend, when new Blues coach Tana Umaga will face up to the defending champion Highlanders' well-established mentor Jamie Joseph.

The late game on the opening day features one of the three newcomers - Argentina's Jaguares, coached by Raúl Pérez, up against the Cheetahs, who in Franco Smith have the other new coach.
Sandwiched in between this a game between two old foes - the Brumbies against the Highlanders.

No doubt the opening day will deliver the usual dosage of drama and entertainment.

Here are the Friday, February 26, matches!

Blues v Highlanders
(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off. 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The Highlanders will quickly learn that the Super Rugby title they carry with them into the season has put a massive target on their collective backs.

There is no doubt the men from Dunedin have the playing ability to retain their title - the ability to pass, kick, tackle and run better than most.

However, the pressure of expectation and the desire of the opposition to knock them off their pedestal will weigh heavily on those broad shoulders.

Coach Jamie Joseph believes the Highlanders are as prepared as they could be.

Speaking in the wake of his team's pre-season victory over the Waratahs last week, he said overall he is happy where the Highlanders are.

Umaga, in contrast, was a lot more cautious - despite his team's unbeaten run in the pre-season.

He is aware of just how dangerous this Highlanders team can be, given that they are a settled unit.

"It's exciting," Umaga told the New Zealand Herald. "We've got a lot to prove, and the defending champions for us epitomise that effort, work ethic, good culture and working for each other attitude -  that's what every team wants.

"We've talked a lot about it, and we'll get to see how it goes."

But for the Blues coach it's very much about them doing things their own way.

"You can say all you want but it's how you live your life together. It's a long time together to try grow that, and the real measure comes when you have to whittle your side down to 23. How does that other group function, and are you getting the results? Those will be the real tests of our culture."

Recent results.
2015: Highlanders won 44-7, Auckland
2015: Highlanders won 30-24, Dunedin
2014: Blues won 30-12, Auckland
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin
2013: Highlanders won 38-28, Dunedin
2013: Blues won 29-18, Auckland

Prediction: The Highlanders have won six of their last eight matches against the Blues and outscored them 74-31 on their way to two wins over them in 2015. The Blues have won 10 of the 13 matches when hosting the Highlanders in Super Rugby, though their last such fixture was a 44-7 loss and they've never lost consecutive home games to the Highlanders. The Highlanders won four straight matches on their way to victory in the 2015 Final and will be looking to start the season with a fifth straight win for the first time since they won six on the trot in 2005. The Highlanders averaged more turnovers won per game (9) than any other side in Super Rugby 2015. The Blues had the best tackle success rate (88 percent) of any team in Super Rugby 2015. It is a tough opening call to make. However, given the fact that the game is in Auckland and the Blues have looked a revitalised team under Tana Umaga, our money is on the Blues to sneak it by a converted try.

Teams.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Male Sa'u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Rene Ranger.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Matt Faddes.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Brumbies v Hurricanes
(GIO Stadium; Canberra - Kick-off. 19.45; 21-.45 NZ time; 08.45 GMT)

Brumbies No.8 Ita Vaea said the team is looking forward to beginning their Super Rugby season against the team who ended their 2015 campaign.

The Brumbies ran into a red-hot Hurricanes in last year's Super Rugby semifinal in Wellington, the New Zealand franchise running out comprehensive victors 29-9 - ending the Brumbies season.

With a number of international players in this year's squad the Brumbies will be hoping they are able to make the next step in 2016.

Vaea said the game was a good opportunity to get one back on the Hurricanes.

"It will be great to start with a rematch," Vaea said in an interview on the Brumbies' website.

"We're still very disappointed from the semifinal last year, but this year is a new year and we're all looking forward to going out there and coming away with the four points."

The Hurricanes have also been dealt a late injury blow, with new captain Dane Coles ruled of the 2016 season-opener against the Brumbies after suffering a calf strain near the end of training on Wednesday.

Having missed the Hurricanes' pre-season matches due to a hamstring string strain, Coles' latest injury setback will put some early pressure on last year's beaten finalists.

Coles' experience would have come in handy, given that the Hurricanes have lost some fine players and influential characters in the off-season - men like Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Jeremy Thrush and Ben Franks.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said it was going to be a big challenge in Canberra.

"There are still a couple of guys on the sidelines, but I'm more than happy with the squad we will run out against the Brumbies," Boyd said.

"The guys have put in some hard yards over the preseason and they've worked very hard. A lot of the guys put their hands up against the Crusaders last week in Blenheim, but we know that won't count for much if we can't carry that momentum into the season proper."

Recent results.
2015: Hurricanes won 29-9, Wellington (semifinal)
2014: Brumbies won 29-21, Wellington
2013: Brumbies won 30-23, Canberra
2012: Brumbies won 37-25, Wellington
2011: Brumbies won 17-16, Canberra
2010: Hurricanes won 23-13, Canberra

Prediction. The Brumbies have won four of their last five matches against the Hurricanes, though the New Zealand side snapped a four game losing streak with a 29-9 victory in their last encounter. The Brumbies have won 13 of their last 16 matches at home in Super Rugby, never losing consecutive such fixtures in that run, though their last home match was a 24-37 loss to the Crusaders. The Hurricanes lost only twice in the 2015 regular season. No team has lost fewer since the Crusaders lost just once in the 2006 season. The Hurricanes scored 23 tries from possessions originating in their own half of the field in 2015, the most of any team while the Brumbies scored the fewest (two). The Canes averaged more metres, carries, breaks and defenders beaten per game than any other side last year as well as maintaining the best scrum success rate (95 percent). Key personnel losses and having to travel across the Tasman Sea will ensure the Hurricanes are under pressure. The Brumbies are a settled and fancied to secure a win that could approach double digits.

Teams.

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Allan Alaalatoa.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Willis Halaholo.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Cheetahs v Jaguares
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off. 19.00; 14.00 Argentina time; 17.00 GMT)

With a matchday 23 that includes 21 Test players, there is now doubt the Argentineans are overwhelming favourites on paper.

The Cheetahs, in stark contrast, will field a very youthful side as new coach Franco Smith continues the rebuilding phase started in last year's Currie Cup.

Despite their apparent superiority, the Jaguares are somewhat apprehensive.

"The Cheetahs are evolving as a team and it is our debut in the tournament, which brings with it some anxiety," Jaguares coach Raúl Perez said.

"We are well prepared and aware of what can happen."

He felt the Cheetahs would play with freedom, as they do not have the weight of expectation on them.

Perez said they have made some adjustments from their pre-season outings - which included a loss to the Stormers and a win over the Lions.

"We always try to evolve and from game to game we will be adjusting our system."

The key for the Cheetahs will be Springbok lock Lodewyk de Jager, who is expected to be named South African Player of the Year for 2015 on Thursday.

"He's brought good attitude," Smith said about the star lock.

The coach added that he will not be adding pressure on the players by setting unrealistic goals.

"We've just got to go out there and play to our strengths and please our crowd," Smith said, adding: "I think that is going to be the most important thing."

Recent results:
These teams have never met before

Prediction: The Cheetahs have won only three of their last 17 matches against teams from outside of South Africa. After winning their final match of the 2015 season the Cheetahs will be looking to secure consecutive victories for the first time since their opening two matches last season. The Cheetahs made an average of 133 tackles per game last season, nine more than any other team in the competition (Hurricanes 124). The Cheetahs (33.2) were the only team last season to concede an average of more than 30 points per game despite being ranked right in the middle of the pack (eighth) for tackling efficiency (86 percent). The Cheetahs have won only two of their last eight matches hosting a team from outside of South Africa on home soil in the Super Rugby and not since Round 19, 2013 have they won such a fixture by more than six points. The Cheetahs will have their work cut out and the Jaguares should win by at least 15 points.

Teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Paul Schoeman, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais.

Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Orlando.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article blues v highlanders2 800

Blues edge Highlanders in Auckland thriller

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 08:40

REPORT: The Blues held on in the face of a late charge from the defending Super Rugby champion Highlanders to record a thrilling 33-31 win in the season opener.

The Highlanders outscored the Blues by four tries to three, but had to be content with a losing bonus point.

The Blues, under new coach Tana Umaga, were by no means flawless, but are far better than the hapless, bumbling outfit they were last year.

In fact they are going to knock over a few other big guns this year.

In an entertaining match in which the lead changed hands four times, the Highlanders staged a late comeback, but lacked the intensity of their New Zealand rivals.

"They played really well and deserved to win, we've got to do better," said captain Ben Smith, whose two-try effort made him the Highlanders' stand-out player.

This year's revamped, 18-team competition is expanding its horizons with new sides from Japan and Argentina, but the Blues are intent on turning back the clock to the days when they were a genuine force.

They won the last of their three titles in 2003, but have now sent a message that under Umaga they are a far more potent threat than the side that finished second last in 2015.

"We had a big emphasis on starting well and you can't get much bigger than beating the defending champions," said fly-half Ihaia West, who landed seven kicks to play a major part in the win.

"We've got a pretty young squad this year, lots of new faces and they gave it their all."

The Blues showed attacking intent early, moving the ball around and earning a penalty, only for West to send his kick wide.

It fell to Smith to score the first points of the season, with the All Blacks fullback stretching out from a tackle to plant the ball over the tryline.

West made amends for his missed penalty when he set up Melani Nanai's try in the 17th minute by chipping to Tevita Li, who released the winger for his score.

Powerful young flank Blake Gibson scored the Blues' second five-pointer in the 25th minute, bulldozing past four defenders.

Debutant centre Teihorangi Walden hit back immediately for the Highlanders, slipping through a hole in the defence, before Waisake Naholo sent them into the break 24-20 up.

After a helter-skelter first half, the second began as an arm wrestle, with two Blues penalties putting the Aucklanders ahead 26-24 with 20 minutes to go.

Patrick Tuipulotu then sealed it with the Blues' third try just after Highlander Patrick Osborne was sin binned.

But the final minutes were tense after Smith gave the Highlanders hope with a converted try from a move that began deep within his own half to make it 33-31.

"It's tough, it's never not tough," Smith said as he digested the loss.

Man of the match: The Highlanders was the Smith-show - Aaron the creative spark at scrumhalf and Ben the rock at fullback, along with scoring a double that kept his team in the hunt. For the Blues Ihaia West, despite some early kicking wobbles, edge his more acclaimed All Black rival Lima Sopoaga, while lock Patrick Tuipulotu got his diesel engine going in a big way. However, our award goes to Blues flank Blake Gibson, who not only scored a great try, but left his mark on the game in no uncertain way with an enormous workload.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries:
Vai, Gibson,  Tuipulotu
Cons: West 3
Pens: West 4

For the Highlanders:
Tries:
B Smith 2, Walden, Naholo
Cons: Sopoaga 3, Parker
Pen: Sopoaga

Yellow card: Patrick Osborne (Highlanders, 71 - professional foul, killing the ball at the ruck)

Teams.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Male Sa'u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Rene Ranger.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Matt Faddes.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

AFP & @rugby365com

Melani Nanai Vai (18min), Blake Gibson (26min), and Patrick Tuipulotu (72min)
TRIES
Ben Smith (8min), Teihorangi Walden (32min), Waisake Naholo (39min), and Ben Smith (77min)
Ihaia West (19min), Ihaia West (27min), and Ihaia West (73min)
CONVERSIONS
Lima Sopoaga (9min), Lima Sopoaga (33min), Lima Sopoaga (40min), and Hayden Parker (78min)
Ihaia West (30min), Ihaia West (37min), Ihaia West (57min), and Ihaia West (63min)
PENALTIES
Lima Sopoaga (21min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Patrick Osborne (71min)
 
 
VENUE Auckland
REFEREE Glen Jackson (New Zealand)