Blues

Crusaders defeat Blues to claim Super Rugby Pacific championship

Leading 13-0 at half-time, the Crusaders never allowed the Blues within striking distance in the second half, denying the home side any real chance of coming back into the contest.

The Crusaders were the first to create scoring opportunities, with two close calls in the Blues' right hand corner.

Richie Mo'unga opened the scoring for the visitors with a tidy drop goal while the referee played a penalty advantage.

Handling errors from both sides ensued, as a combination of weather and final nerves made for scrappy rugby.

Super Rugby Pacific final revives rivalry

The sold-out sign was already up as the high-flying Blues got set to welcome long-time foes the Crusaders north to Eden Park.

It came 24 years on from the dramatic 1998 final, where a late try earned the Crusaders their maiden title.

A red and black man through and through until moving north three years ago, Blues coach Leon MacDonald expected the 2022 final to play out in similar fashion.

"It's going to be a lot like that.

Blues won't retreat into their shells against the Crusaders says Barrett

The Crusaders will be searching for a sixth title in six years after three straight Super Rugby titles followed by two domestic ones in 2020 and 2021, however this will be just the second time under Robertson they contest a final away from home.

Their first championship under Robertson was perhaps their most unlikely, upsetting the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg 25-17 for a famous away win. They will have to repeat that feat again as they will likely be priced as slight underdogs in a final for the first time since then.

Blues snatch late win

The Brumbies looked like winning a battle of the best teams from either side of the Tasman Sea when hooker Billy Pollard crashed over the line off the back of a rolling maul in the 77th minute of a contest played at almost test match intensity.

The Blues turned the ball over, however, and made their way down to the home side's line and, with the referee playing advantage, All Blacks first five-eighth Barrett calmly took the three points to give his side a 12th straight win.

Blues thump Chiefs to win six straight as Crusaders pip Hurricanes

The visitors overcame three yellow cards, two of which reduced them to 13 men for a period in the first half, to claim their sixth successive win.

The Blues defence was impressive, they didn't let the Chiefs score while they were missing players to the sin bin.

The Blues scored a length of the field try to Tom Robinson, which was sparked by Mark Telea and Rieko Ioane and included a Beauden Barrett cross-field kick.

It's the first time the Chiefs have failed to score a point in their 26-year history.

Beauden Barrett feels fine

Barrett, who only recently returned to action following a concussion suffered against Ireland in November, was forced off in the Blues' 32-25 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin on March 26.

The 30-year-old was taken off in the 41st minute after a collision with Highlanders centre Fetuli Paea.

"I was very relieved to wake up on the Sunday morning after the game feeling clear in my head. I just had a very sore neck," Barrett told Stuff

Blues too good for Moana Pasifika

Blues Hooker Kurt Ekland helped himself to three tries in front of a home crowd of 15'000, while Corey Evans, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem and AJ Lam also scored for the hosts.

Moana Pasifika scored one try through Tomasi Alosio, while Christian Leali'ifano kicked three penalties.

The first half was a back and forward affair, with Moana Pasifika leading 6-0 early before the Blues sprung into action and scored twice in four minutes, eventually taking a 29-16 lead into the break.

Moana Pasifika ring changes following historic Hurricanes win

Eleven players set to make their Moana Pasifika debut on Tuesday, with head coach Aaron Mauger using the full depth of his squad with only a four-day turnaround from Friday's historic win against the Hurricanes.

After playing for the Crusaders in Moana Pasifika's first match, prop Abraham Pole will make his debut for Moana Pasifika as a permanent replacement for the season.

Covid-19 numbers grow in Highlanders and Blues camps

In a release the Highlanders said they had cancelled today's training session, but at this point there has been no decision made on Friday's game in Dunedin.

They said there had been no change to the rest of their schedule this week.

The Highlanders have managed to play four games so far this season, losing all four of them.

However, another postponed game would be a major setback for Moana Pasifika, who have played just one game so far.

They had two games postponed at the start of the season because of Covid-19 in their camp.

Blues battle past Highlanders in Super Rugby Pacific

After playing on for 10 minutes beyond the final hooter, the Blues left the field as 32-20 victors and Highlanders head home still searching for a way to win this season.

Covid-19 cases impacted on who was available to take the park on Friday, with the Highlanders leaving some of their squad in Dunedin and the Blues forced into making late changes to the starting side.