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- 20th Apr 2012
- KO 08:35
- Ground: Forsyth Barr, Dunedin
Highlanders v Blues - Live
80 It doesn't happen for the Blues as the Highlanders hold on to claim victory by 30 points to 27. It was a fine Super Rugby clash here at Forsyth Barr Stadium and one that the Blues can take heart from as they were much-improved from last week. The Highlanders go a point behind the Chiefs. Stay tuned for Reds v Stormers from Brisbane, cheers for now!
79 The Blues have a penalty in a kickable position, which they turn down and instead opt for the corner. A draw is not what they want after what has been a tough start to their season. Grandstand finish, Blues have a scrum, eight metres out, one minute to go.
77 Four minutes to go and the Blues are back in possession after Tietjens is caught going off his feet at the breakdown. But it's nightmare stuff for Pat Lam as a stray boot at the ruck sees the ball pop out on the Highlanders' side. Who would be a head coach...?
74 Is it not to be for the Blues as Woodcock can't hold a pass as we see Jimmy Cowan, off to Gloucester soon, coming on. Highlanders line-out on their own ten-metre now.
72 So it's 30-27 to the Highlanders with eight minutes to go. It would be a shame if the game was settled on that dubious score. Blues ball on their own ten-metre.
69 BAKER TRY! 30-27! They won't be scoring any time soon though as the Highlanders have possession, with Baker finding Gear who grubbers through. Now, can Ranger collect safely? No, Baker, who seemed to push him, has grounded first. TMO gives it!
66 Oh dear, some elusive running from Delany ultimately sees him throw a poor pass that slips out of his hands and goes forward. Net result, a Blues scrum on the home ten-metre as the visitors look to give themselves some breathing space on the board.
64 The Blues have the territory but Moala has put in a grubber that had too much juice so replacement Baker dots down under no pressure. Blues have it back now on halfway with Ranger making good ground at pace. However, soon after the Highlanders steal it.
61 DELANY PENALTY! 25-27! Ranger is penalised for being off his feet at the ruck so we are back to a two-point ball game. What a final quarter we have.
58 Now the Highlanders are on the charge, setting up camp about ten metres out from the visitors' whitewash. Big moment in the game at Forsyth Barr Stadium here.
55 ANSCOMBE CONVERSION! 22-27! He got the extras.
54 Kurt Baker and Doug Tietjens are on for the Highlanders.
53 RANGER TRY! 22-25! The Blues are looking good. It came after a good passage from the forwards before replacement Piri Weepu sent of drop-off ball to Ranger!
51 DELANY PENALTY! 22-20! Not as open as the first-half so far but there have been plenty of scores thus far. The Highlanders are in possession and wouldn't you just know it, it's another penalty coming as the Blues are caught offside in defence. Six from six.
47 ANSCOMBE PENALTY! 19-20! Here we go again. This time it was good work from tighthead Charlie Faumuina at the breakdown that forced the penalty.
46 DELANY PENALTY! 19-17! Well that didn't last long as now the Blues offend at ruck-time so it's another three points for Delany, who has played very well on his return to Super Rugby today. Chris Noakes will probably come on a little later on.
44 ANSCOMBE PENALTY! 16-17! The Blues are back in the lead after the Highlanders seal off at ruck-time. It was a kick from about 40 metres out, bang in front.
Second-half Welcome back with play on halfway and in Highlanders hands. That was until Smith put in a weak grubber and now the Blues scavenge after the loose ball.
40 A few hands on hips at the moment as we approach the closing seconds of the first-half. However, the Blues forwards have produced a huge scrum that earns them a shot to push themselves back in front...Anscombe pushes it wide from 50 metres. That is that for the first 40 in what has been an entertaining affair so far. Stay tuned to see how this one pans out!
37 DELANY PENALTY! 16-14! The Blues are now under the cosh until Delany's pass doesn't find its target. However, a scrappy line-out that saw tap-backs aplenty leads to the Blues sealing off. So it's a chance for the Highlanders to retake the lead, which they do.
33 ANSCOMBE PENALTY! 13-14! The Blues are coming once again, sensing that they can go in at the break ahead maybe. And now Treeby is caught offside so it's a chance for Anscombe to put the visitors in the lead. He's done it, well done the Blues.
29 ANSCOMBE PENALTY! 13-11! Jarrad Hoeata is the next to have his hands where they shouldn't. The Blues are seriously back in this one with ten minutes left.
26 ANSCOMBE PENALTY! 13-8! The hosting Highlanders have some defending to do and in unfortunately for them, James Haskell has hands in the ruck. That ultimately leads to Anscombe cutting the lead. This has been a much-improved effort from the Blues.
23 DELANY PENALTY! 13-5! Oh dear, Luke Braid is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time as Chris Lowrey runs into his own man, just outside his own 22. That means the Highlanders have a shot to extend their lead, which they do. It's an eight-point ball game.
20 A good counter from the Blues as George Moala is in possession over the halfway line. But that's a great tackle from full-back Ellison who bundles him into touch and so the visitors are repelled back into their own half. A quarter of the game gone here, 10-5!
18 Gear is playing superbly here today and causing all kinds of problems for the Blues. The Highlanders are aware of it too and are regularly feeding their big wing.
16 DELANY PENALTY! 10-5! Ranger doesn't enter the ruck through the gate so it's a chance for Delany right in front, 30 metres out. He makes no mistake.
13 DELANY CONVERSION! 7-5! Great kick from wide out.
12 TREEBY TRY! 5-5! The visiting line-out is struggling and it costs them. From set-piece ball (a scrum), Delany gives off an inside ball to Hosea Gear who draws and passes to the supporting Shaun Treeby for an easy run in. Great try from the Highlanders!
10 Still the game is open which is great to see. Bit of kicking, but also lots of running from the likes of Nonu and now Ellison from full-back on the opposite side. That all ends up with another relieving penalty for the Blues after the Highlanders go off their feet at ruck time.
7 Nice, open start here at Forsyth Barr Stadium as Aaron Smith finds space in behind for a Blues line-out on their own 22. And it's a good one for the Blues as Jamie Mackintosh pushes the jumper. Net result, relieving penalty for the struggling franchise from Auckland.
4 PARKES TRY! 0-5! Error from the Highlanders and the Blues capitalise. They shifted the ball to the right where Parkes was waiting, making up for that earlier fumble.
3 Good from the Blues as Ma'a Nonu makes yardage before the recycled ball finds Rene Ranger in a little space. However, he forces a pass and Hadleigh Parkes spills it.
Kick-off Here we go. Late change for the Highlanders sees Kade Poki ruled out so that is a blow for the home side. Scrum Blues on the home ten-metre, with the visitors wearing their white shirts today. First chance for Gareth Anscombe and company coming up.
Team news The Highlanders wasted no time in installing Mike Delany, who has just arrived from Japan, at fly-half. Ben Smith has failed to recover from injury, so Tamati Ellison fills the void at full-back, with Phil Burleigh named to wear the number 13 jersey.
Team news There are five changes in personnel and four further positional switches in the Blues starting XV. Luke Braid is skipper in the absence of injured hooker Keven Mealamu. Hadleigh Parkes moves to full-back, Benson Stanley heads out to the wing and Rene Ranger will play at centre. Ali Williams returns. Tom McCartney replaces Mealamu at hooker.
Welcome Hello and welcome to Dunedin for our coverage of this weekend's first Super Rugby battle. Can the Blues finally find some form? We'll find out soon enough...
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|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.
The Crusaders will take on the Waratahs in the Super Rugby final after both sides registered eye-catching semi-final victories on Saturday.
Crusaders v Sharks: 8.25am, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com