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Blues v Highlanders - Live
80 Blues 30 - 12 Highlanders
80 A fairly disappointing match really, the Highlanders did not put in a performance that they would be extremely proud of and we didn't see the running rugby that we would expect from these two teams. The Blues were phenomenal at the breakdown and managed to prevent the highlanders from ever getting anything going on attack. The Blues will be gutted that they did not get a vital bonus which was their for the taking but will be happy with the win. The Highlanders will have some serious questions to answer from the coaching staff I'm sure, not a great performance.
80 The balls been knocked on by the Highlanders as they seek a consolation try! And that's the end of the match, Blues will be happy with the win tonight!
79 Blues clear for touch from their own 22m. Not sure about that, they've got the game in the bag and should surely hold onto it to have a crack for the bonus point.
77 There was an earlier knock on during play so no try for the Highlanders! Buckman's grounding however was spot on and would have resulted in an incredible try!
76 The Highlanders attack well with a strong run from replacement Shaun Treeby! They've worked their way into the 22m. Parker puts a cross kick into the corner for Buckman to run onto! He dots down right in the corner of the try area, great skill! Steve Walsh was concerned about an earlier knock which we'll check first before we check Buckman's grounding.
75 Richard Buckman manages to assist in turning it over for the Highlanders! They kick but aren't able to find touch! Benji Marshall receives the ball with much expectation but runs laterally and throws a loose pass which puts his side under pressure! Highlanders win a scrum.
73 The Blues turnover the ball again and go on attack! Piutau makes a good run on the wing after Braid had made a strong run up the middle. The Blues win a penalty and kick for the corner as they go for the bonus point try!
71 The Blues can't hold onto the ball in the line out and the Highlanders manage to get themselves out of trouble.
69 The Blues prevent another Highlanders attack as they win a penalty on the half way. This time Hickey kicks for the corner as they go in search for the fourth try!
67 Hickey just misses the kick to the relief of the Highlanders!
66 Things are getting worse for the visitors! They've conceded another penalty and its in kicking range for Hickey. Fekitoa has had another collision this time with his own team mate Buckman as their heads collide on defense.
63 Willison and Fekitoa have had a huge collision in the midfield which brings a break in play. Both players are receiving treatment but doesn't look like either of them are too badly hurt.
62 The Highlanders aren't able to keep the ball long enough to make any inroads on attack as the ball pops up for the Blues. Hickey knocks the ball on during the counter attack and we'll have a Highlanders scrum. The visitors really need to hold onto the ball better and build some phases.
59 Once again a Highlanders attack is stopped as the Blues forwards get stuck in and win a penalty.
58 PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY, 30-12. Hickey extends the Blues lead to 18 points!
57 The Blues look dangerous on attack as they push towards the line! They manage to win a penalty and Hickey will have a shot to extend the lead. Highlanders really don't look like winning at all now.
55 They attack strongly through some of the backs and there's a bit of space out wide but Willison has intercepted!! He doesn't have the pace to go all the way so he puts a kick through and the chase is on! Sopoaga gets back and the Highlanders manage to clear eventually. Another missed opportunity for the visitors!
54 Highlanders win a penalty at scrum time and find touch in the Blues half. They need to keep the ball here and get some points from this position!
53 Huge hit on Nonu from Fekitoa! Nonu loses the ball and Highlanders have the scrum. That's the spirit the Highlanders need, who really must score next if they want to stay in the game!
52 The Highlanders are really just battling to get anything going on attack. The Blues have been really impressive at the break down as they win a penalty on defense to prevent an attack from the visitors!
50 CONVERSION, BLUES, HICKEY, 27-12. Hickey continues to slot his kicks! Also a perfect night besides the one slipped kick.
49 TRY! BLUES, PIUTAU, 25-12. Tries been awarded! Thoroughly deserved for the home side who now extend their lead with their third try!
49 Piutai goes over in the corner for the Blues! The Highlanders have been their own worst enemy as it all started with a failed clearance attempt. The Blues counter attacked strongly through the backs. The forwards then crashed it up towards the try line before it goes wide to Piutau who beats Ben Smith and goes over in the corner. Just checking with the TMO!
46 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 20-12. Great strike from Lima who keeps up his perfect record tonight!
45 The Highlanders strike back immediately and have won a penalty within kicking ranging. Its a big kick but Sopoaga has the yardage.
44 PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY, 20-9. No mistake from Hickey! Great way to start the second half!
43 The Blues get possession again as Christie loses the ball in the tackle! The Highlanders under pressure give away a penalty and Hickey should add three points to the home sides tally.
42 The Blues gather the ball again and Bryn Hall puts a fantastic kick over which rolls out deep into the highlanders 22m. This Hall kid is spectacular.
41 The Blues get us underway for the second half! They manage to retain the ball and Hickey puts a nice kick through which goes out around the Highlanders 22m.
40 Well it hasn't been the try fest that we were hoping for! The Blues have definitely been the more dominant side and deserve their 8 point lead. They've dominated the breakdown and looked the more dangerous side on attack! The Highlanders have had a frustrating first 40 with two potential try scoring opportunities being wasted. It's still anyone's game for the taking, hopefully the match opens up a bit in the second half and we see some more running rugby!
40 A promising attack is stopped as Blues turnover again! The Highlanders will be extremely frustrated as that brings the end to the first half!
38 Blues falter off the restart as they knock on. Scrum to Highlanders who will be desperate for more points before the break!
37 CONVERSION, HICKEY, 17-9. No mistake from Hickey!
36 TRY! BLUES, NONU, 15-9. Bryn Hall makes a great break into the Highlanders 22m! He gets brought up just centimeters short of the line! Nonu grabs the ball from the back of the ruck and crashes over the home sides second try!
35 The Highlanders do extremely well through Shane Christie again! He wins his side the ball on the ground but Aaron Smiths clearance isn't the greatest as it comes off the side of the boot!
34 Blues on attack again and Ma'a Nonu puts a cheeky grubber through into the Highlanders 22m. Its weighted beautifully and the Highlanders defense gets back just in time and run it into touch. Attacking line out for the Blues just 5m out!
32 PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY, 10-9. Easy stuff for the Blues number 10. He takes his side back into the lead.
31 The Highlanders are up in defense extremely quickly and deny the back line to do anything. The Blues crash it up with the forwards before winning a penalty advantage. Hickey puts a grubber through which the Highlanders manage to get back for but we'll go back for the initial penalty to the Blues. Should be an easy 3.
29 Blues win the ball off the restart and are immediately looking dangerous again! They've won themselves a scrum just inside the Highlanders 22m. Great attacking opportunity for the home side here.
28 PENALTY, SOPOAGA, 7-9. Wow! Great kick from Sopoaga! Straight through the middle from way back!
27 Blues concede a penalty for playing the ball on the ground. Lima Sopoaga will have a shot from the corner of the 10-yard line to take his team into the lead!
25 The Blues now attacking strongly with some good runs from the backs! Shane Christie does well at the breakdown to win his side a penalty whilst on defense.
24 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 7-6. Easy shot for Lima.
23 Highlanders now have the ball on attack inside the Blues 22m! The Blues are penalized and Highlanders will have an easy shot.
21 Aaron Smith does well firstly as he finds some space on the blind side from his own half and jinks a few defenders before offloading in the tackle. At the next ruck he launches a box kick which rolls out nicely in the Blues 22m...great play from the Highlanders scrumhalf!
18 Highlanders show some great creativity off a scrum set piece which opens up some space on the right wing! Unfortunately the move is stopped due to a forward pass, another "could have been" chance goes begging for the visitors.
15 Oh dear! Hickey completely slipped as he took the kick!
14 Aaron Smith is penalized for interfering from an offside position at the ruck. Blues pivot Hickey will have a tough shot at goal to extend the home sides lead!
13 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 7-3. Great start for the Highlanders pivot!
12 Highlanders win a penalty immediately after the restart! Sopoaga will have a shot at goal from a fair distance out!
11 CONVERSION, HICKEY, 7-0. First kick by Hickey is a gem!
10 TRY! BLUES, MOALA, 5-0. Bryn Hall receives the ball from Luatua off the back of the scrum and puts a chip kick through. It bounces off a Highlanders defender and straight into the a hands of Moala running at pace! He steps Aaron Smith and charges into the corner for the first try of the match!
8 Blues doing well at the breakdown as they turnover another ball! They get a penalty which Bryn Hall takes quickly and makes ground! They put a grubber through which causes all kinds of trouble for the visitors! They manage to scramble numbers back and get in the ball in to touch safely!
6 Aaron Smith puts a high kick up just outside the Blues 22m which Patrick Osborne wins in the air! The Highlanders go wide and it could be on as Ben Smith gets it on the wing! He passes to Buckman who gets nailed and loses the ball in the tackle! Blues fortunate to not concede a try there.
2 Great work from the Blues defense who are up to the challenge! They make a steal through Braid and find a decent clearance just inside their own half.
1 Lima Sopoaga gets us underway! Blues gather but do not find touch and immediately the Highlanders attack!
Blues news: Head coach Sir John Kirwan has made five changes to the side that overcame the Cheetahs 40-30 last week as the Blues look to maintain their unbeaten record at Eden Park this season. Kirwan said it was great to have two world-class players in Nonu and Kaino back in the starting XV. Tom McCartney will make his first start of the season at hooker in place of James Parsons, while Hayden Triggs also earns his first start ahead of Tom Donnelly. Kaino will start at blindside flanker as Steven Luatua shifts to number eight to cover Peter Saili who has had a sore foot and been unable to take full part in training this week. In the backs and as advised earlier today, Piri Weepu will not take part in this Saturday's game after expert diagnosis this week determined he had recently suffered a minor stroke. As a result Bryn Hall will start at half-back, while Northland's Sonatane Takulua, who played in the Blues' pre-season fixtures, comes onto the bench as Jamison Gibson-Park is still injured. Ma'a Nonu's inclusion in the starting XV at second-five sees Jackson Willison move out to centre and George Moala shift to the wing as Tevita Li drops out of the matchday 23.
Highlanders news: Jarrad Hoeata, who this week has been linked with a move to Cardiff Blues, comes into the second-row to partner Brad Thorn, with Chris King and Ged Robinson selected in Jamie Joseph''s front-row. Robinson replaces the promising Liam Coltman in the line-up while there is a tweak on the bench as prop Craig Millar comes in for Matias Diaz.
Welcome to Eden Park in Auckland for our New Zealand derby Super rugby clash! Both teams have come off victories from the previous week and will want to continue their form! Should hopefully be full of running rugby tonight!
Updates to appear here at 19:20 local (06:20 GMT)
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|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
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|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
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