SR: Blues 30, Highlanders 12

March 29, 2014
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images The Blues have had plenty to digest this week – with Piri Weepu’s stroke top of the list.

No doubt it will be an emotional occasion for the men from Auckland, with the return of All Black veterans Ma’a Nonu and Jerome Kaino to the starting XV adding further spice to the occasion.

And it the weather forecast of fine conditions with light winds holds true, this should shape up nicely to be a high-octane try-fest. Neither team has trouble scoring, although they sometimes tend to leak some first-half points and then go into overdrive after the break – producing some fine displays of catch-up.

In fact both sides leaked 30-plus points in their last outings. The Highlanders’ forward pack has been strengthened, with Jarrad Hoeta, Ged Robinson and Chris King all returning.

The Highlanders beat the Blues by eight in Round Two, but their record in Auckland isn’t flash.  While Blues coach John Kirwan was happy with last week’s fortuitous victory over the Cheetahs, he also acknowledge that his side would have to work much harder this week – as they can’t expect the same leniency that they received from Argentinean referee Francisco Pastrana, a performance so pitiful that it cost the match official his job.

“We had a win that we were happy with and we got maximum points,” he said of the 40-30 triumph over the Cheetahs. “However, I think we just need to look more at our own performance,” Kirwan added.

“We realise that we’re going to have to be better to beat the Highlanders. “They’re a better football team this year, they’re playing really well, they’ve got confidence so we need to tidy up one or two of our things and just get a little bit harder on each other about performing for the full 80 minutes.”

Recent results:
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin
2013: Highlanders won 38-28, Dunedin
2013: Blues won 29-18, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 27-20, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 30-27, Dunedin
2011: Blues won 33-16, Auckland

Teams:

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 George Moala, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Tom Donnelly, 20 Peter Saili, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Pita Ahki, 23 Benji Marshall.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Shaun Treeby.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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45 Comments

  1. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Highlanders to kick off

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Highlanders starts well as they run from side to side interplay between forwards and backs….

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Highlanders with all the play in the start of this game and Blues turning over crucial ball …..

  4. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Highlanders winning the highball each time they kick the ball. Desperate defence is the only thing that hold them out of Blues try line

  5. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:45 am

    From another turnover Blues get close to Highlanders try line…but Highlanders kick out for lineout Blues…..

    Blues struggling to get over advantage line

  6. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    TRY !!!!! BLUES!!!!!

    Blues with kick against highlander and Moala gather to score in the corner for the Blues

  7. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Against the run off play the Blues take the lead 7-0

  8. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:49 am

    From kick-off Highlanders retrieve kick-off and attack straight back at the blues…..

    Force a penalty which is kickable…

    OVER!!!!

    Score: Blues 7 Highlanders 3

  9. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Penalty Blues…..Highlanders offside…

    Kickable penalty….

    Not over…..

    Highlanders kick out for lineout….

    Blues start running from lineout and give away a penalty for obstruction….

  10. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    A forward pass from Highlanders prevent a certain try for them

  11. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Inventive play from both teams…..

  12. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Much better kicking game from both these teams than the games we saw yesterday

  13. avatar Aldo says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Come on Blues, dont fail me. 0 from 2 so far on superbru this weekend.

  14. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Highlanders gets penalty in Blues 22…..

    OVER!!!!

    Score: Blues 7 Highlanders 6

  15. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:11 am

    @Aldo: Hehehe I pick Highlanders by 10

  16. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Ok I had some internet issues but al we missed was a penalty each….

    Score: Blues 10 Highlanders 9

  17. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:14 am

    TRY!!! BLUES!!!!!

    From lineout Blues break the Highlanders and extend the lead to 17-9

  18. avatar Aldo says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Yah but staying in Zambia is a good excuse for that pick Bunny. :soek:

  19. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Last change fro Highlanders in the first half…..they get a scrum in the Blues half in the middle of the field….

    Highlanders attack with force but again the Blues get the turnover……

    That’s half time…..Blues lead 17-9 with two tries to one

  20. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:19 am

    @Aldo: Still 40 to go backing my team…. :wave:

  21. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Both teams show that they are prepared to run the ball and that’s what we used to from the NZ teams….

    Highlanders letting themselves down with the amount of turnovers they gave away…..

    Blues using their changes better and playing with more direct play and Highlanders will have to look at their defence…

    Still anyone’s game to win

  22. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Blues start the second half with some great kicks to put the Highlanders under pressure.

  23. avatar Aldo says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Cant say I blame you bunny, Stormers supporters must be used to the pain by now.

  24. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Blues turn ball again over from great defence….

    Blues running hard at Highlanders and force a penalty…

    Turning defence in attack….

    Blues going for points

  25. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:35 am

    @Aldo: We actually are and do feel part off teams struggling in games :)

  26. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:36 am

    OVER!!! from penalty Blues lead 20-9 now

  27. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Highlanders now with a kickable penalty and going for points…

    OVER!!! great kick….

    Score: Blues 20 Highlanders 12

  28. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Blues in charge with the kicking game and put themselves right back on attack in Highlanders 22…..

    TRY !!!!! BLUES!!!!

    They take their change after a bad kick for touch from the Highlanders….

    TMO Decision…..

  29. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:42 am

    TRY AWARED!!!!!

    Blues getting away from Highlanders now….

    Mistakes is costing the Highlanders…..

    Score: Blues 27 Highlanders 12

  30. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Highlanders does not get through the Blues defence and are force to kick for field posision

  31. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Blues drive from lineout…..

    The blues again attack with force and get a penalty for their trouble….

    Going for points …..

    OVER!!!

    Blues lead 30-12 now

  32. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 9:55 am

    The way the Aus and NZ are having trouble with the high ball must give Meyer some smile as it is always something the Boks are great at…..

    Too many high kicks are let to bounce in the last few weeks by them

  33. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am

    The only thing that really work for the Highlanders today is the scrums

  34. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Defence of the Blues is just too good tonight for the highlanders to get any kind of momentum…

  35. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Again the Highlanders on attack and through defence the Blues get a turnover penalty…..story of the highlanders life today…..

    Blues in search for bonus point try kick for the line……but they lose it….

    Highlanders scrum

  36. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Really like the way Steve has controlled this game after some weird referees in the past weeks

  37. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Blues searching still for the bonus point try but lose it again

  38. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Very scrappy from both teams as Blues try their best to get that forth try

  39. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Highlander goes over the line from a cross kick…but TMO in play for a possible knock on and then if it was grounded….

  40. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Knock on scrum Blues!!

  41. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Good pressure from highlanders in scrum and have a lineout just outside the Blues 22…but like most of the game Highlanders making another mistake…..

  42. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I don’t know if I will be too comfortable with referee touching my bum the whole game as scrumhalf :)

  43. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Blues and Aldo get the win but with no bonus point

    Blues win 30-12

  44. avatar Aldo says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Yay!!!! Finally Im on the board for the weekend.

  45. avatar DavidS says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Wel my SuperBru staan nou op een reg uit vier uit… thanks Blues….

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