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Blues v Sharks - Live
80 Blues 23 Sharks 29
80 From a line-out on the Blues' 10-metre line, the Sharks launch a drive and when the ball becomes static the referee blows his whistle to bring proceedings to a close. That secures another memorable win for the Sharks in New Zealand and their march at the top of the table continues! The Blues put up a good fight but, in the end, the visitors were the hungrier side and deserve their win.
79 The blues attack deep inside the Sharks' 22 but the visitors win a turnover and Charl McLeod gets the ball out to Marais, who boots the ball upfield.
77 The Sharks are under the cosh inside their own half when Nonu intercepts a Lwazi Mvovo pass! Nonu is soon close to the visitors' 22-metre line but gets a pass away to Hall, who passes to Ahki but he is brought to ground by Mvovo.
75 The Blues are on the attack, close to the halfway mark and take the ball through several phases. West throughs a loose pass which Lewies tries to intercept but the home side gain a reprieve when the big lock knocks on!
73 PENALTY, BLUES, WEST! 23-29. West narrows the gap to six points, from the kicking tee, after the Sharks front row are penalised for illegal scrummaging.
70 PENALTY, SHARKS, MARAIS! 20-29. SP Marais has taken over the goal-kicking, with Steyn off the field, and adds the three-pointer after Sam Prattley tackles one of the Sharks in the air at the restart.
69 CONVERSION, BLUES, WEST! 20-26. Ihaia West steps up and slots the two-pointer from close to the touchline!
68 TRY, BLUES, LI! 18-26. Nonu attacks, inside the Sharks' 22 and draws in two defenders before offloading to Li, who dives in at the corner!
66 The Blues are throwing everything into their attack now! The ball goes out wide to Tevita Li but he is tackled into touch, inside the visitors' 22, by SP Marais.
64 The Blues are attacking close to the Sharks' line! Kaino and Steven Luatua are both stopped just short and the ball then goes out wide but Sithole shows great line speed when he nails Pita Ahki and carries him back in the tackle! The Sharks counter ruck superbly and Reinach then kicks the ball into touch close to the halfway line.
62 YELLOW CARD, SHARKS, STEYN! Steyn receives his marching orders after killing the ball deliberately on the ground close to his try-line.
59 The Blues are trying desperately to get back into the game but lose possession when Mealamu's throw-in at a line-out inside the Sharks' 22 is crooked.
57 CONVERSION, SHARKS, STEYN! 13-26. Steyn slots another conversion which means the Blues have to score two converted tries if they want to win this game.
56 TRY, SHARKS, REINACH! 13-24. The Blues attack close to the halfway line but lose possession at a ruck. Bismarck du Plessis boots the ball ahead before Lewies does the same. Reinach then beats Kaino to the ball and also kicks ahead before diving onto the ball behind the try-line!
54 The Blues are on the attack close to the Sharks' try-line but they lose possession when Hall holds onto the ball too long on the ground!
52 PENALTY, SHARKS, STEYN! 13-19. Steyn adds another three-pointer after Charlie Faumuina is penalised for not rolling away at a ruck.
49 The Sharks do brilliantly when their seven men push the Blues off the ball at a scrum! They fail to control at the back of the set-piece, however, and Saili boots the ball ahead.
47 Cobus Reinach gathers a kick from Bryn Hall five metres inside his half and launches an attack. he makes little headway as he is soon stopped in his tracks by Lolagi Visinia.
45 CONVERSION, BLUES, HICKEY! 13-16. Hickey adds the easy two-pointer to narrow the gap to three points!
44 TRY, BLUES, BRAID! 11-16. The Blues launch a drive, close to the visitors' try-line, but Luke Braid gathers before breaking away and diving in under the posts!
43 YELLOW CARD, SHAKRS, J DU PLESSIS. Jannie du Plessis is sent to the sin bin for deliberately slowing the ball down at a ruck close to his try-line. The Blues opt to take a scrum from the penalty which means Lourens Adriaanse comes on for Jacques Botes to pack down at the scrum.
41 Hickey gets the second half underway with a hanging kick which the Sharks have difficulty dealing with. The ball bounces around until Beast Mtawarira gathers before setting up a ruck on the edge of his 22.
40 Blues 6 Sharks 16
40 From a line-out drive, the Sharks knock on and referee Nick Briant brings proceedings to a close with a shrill blast of his whistle. As the scoreboard suggests, the visitors have held the upperhand and thoroughly deserve their lead. The Sharks have kept it simple and are controlling the game's tempo. The Blues have threatened on a couple of occasions but make little impact as they discipline has let them down.
39 The Blues attack with their forwards close to the halfway line but lose possession when Patrick Tuipulotu knocks on.
37 Steyn takes a shot at goal, from 45 metres out, after Luke Braid is pinged for a ruck infringement. Steyn's kick is a poor one and is well wide of the mark.
34 PENALTY, SHARKS, STEYN. 6-16. Steyn gives the visitors a 10-point lead, from the kicking tee, after Bryn Hall is pinged for a ruck infringement.
32 Ma'a Nonu makes a break inside the Sharks' 22 and throws an overhead pass to Peter Saili. He breaks infield but is soon penalised for holding onto the ball on the ground.
30 Paul Jordaan is penalised for offside play at a ruck. Hickey kicks for touch and puts the ball out just inside the visitors' 22.
28 DROP GOAL, SHARKS, STEYN! 6-13. The Sharks set up a ruck, just outside the hosts' 22, and Frans Steyn drops into the pocket before slotting over a drop goal!
27 Mtembu returns to action after passing a concussion test on the sidelines.
27 Jannie du Plessis is penalised for illegal scrummaging. Hickey puts the resulting penalty out on his 22-metre line.
26 The Sharks are on the attack, inside the Blues' 22, after a fine break from Steyn. The ball goes through the hands and Daniel stabs through a grubber kick and JP Pietersen gives chase! He tries to gather in front of the try-line but knocks on!
24 That tackle from Kaino has rattled Mtembu. He's been running around groggily for the past few minutes and is soon replaced by Keegan Daniel.
21 The Sharks go on the attack but Tera Mtembu loses possession after taking a massive hit from JErome Kaino! The Blues go on the attack from the turnover and are soon on the attack close to the visitors' 22.
18 PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY. 6-10. Hickey makes pu for his earlier miss when the Sharks forwards are pinged for not retreating 10 metres. This after Bryn Hall takes a tap penalty when the visitors are blown up for illegal scrummaging.
15 Hickey gets a chance to narrow the gap to four points after the Sharks forwards are penalised for obstruction at a maul. His effort is just wide of the target, however!
12 CONVERSION, SHARKS, STEYN. 3-10. Steyn adds the extras to extend the visitors' lead.
11 TRY, SHARKS, B DU PLESSIS! 3-8. The Sharks are on the attack, close to the Blues' try-line, and when S'bura Sithole is stopped just short, Bismarck du Plessis gathers before crashing over!
9 PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY. 3-3. Simon Hickey draws the hosts level, from the kicking tee, after Stephan Lewies is pinged for a foul at a line-out.
6 PENALTY, SHARKS, STEYN. 0-3. Frans Steyn punishes a Blues indiscretion at a ruck by knocking over the resulting penalty from 40 metres out.
4 The Blues take the ball through several phases with their forwards inside the Sharks' 22 and Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock are prominent ball carriers. The ball goes wide to their backs but Ma'a Nonu knocks on!
1 And we're off! Frans Steyn gets us underway with a deep kick which Peter Saili gathers on the edge of his 22-metre line where he sets up a ruck.
With Jean Deysel suspended, Jacques Botes has been drafted in by Sharks boss Jake White for this encounter. The rest of the team remains unchanged for this crucial game.
Openside flanker Luke Braid returns from injury to captain the Blues in this match. Braid's inclusion ahead of Brendon O'Connor is the only change to the forward pack, while Charles Piutau's knee injury has forced a reshuffle to the backline with Lolagi Visinia moving from full-back to wing and New Zealand U20 player Tevita Ling starting on the left flank. Pita Ahki will start at centre in place of injured players Francis Saili and Jackson Willison.
Hello and welcome to the North Harbour Stadium in Albany for this Super Rugby hit out between our hosts, the Blues, and the Sharks. Don't go away! We'll return shortly with team news.
Updates from 19:35 local (08.35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Rupert Cox shares his highlights from the week's rugby action in his round-up blog...
Toulon's Leigh Halfpenny features for Wales on Friday night, but there is no place in the England team for club team-mate and European Player of the Year Steffon Armitage, due to England's selection policy.
We take a look at Stuart Lancaster's injury concerns ahead of England's Six Nations opener with Wales and beyond.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com