Blues

Highlanders hold on to beat Blues

The Blues trailed 30-24 when replacement prop Alex Hodgman was sent off in the 73rd minute for driving his shoulder into the chin of Highlanders loose forward James Lentjes at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Highlanders wasted no time capitalising on their man advantage, with Michael Collins cantering over with six minutes left after latching on to a bullet-like pass from Mitch Hunt.

Hoskins Sotutu barged over for the Blues a minute before the siren but the Highlanders won back the ball after the restart to clinch their first win at home for the season.

Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu vows he’s learned lesson over spurned shots

The Blues’ Super Rugby Aotearoa season hit a familiar skid with a second straight defeat to send the ambitious Auckland franchise tumbling back to the pack in the now tight race for second spot, and a likely crack at the Crusaders in the final in Christchurch. They host the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Saturday night to open the second and final round of qualifying games (though the mooted trans-Tasman competition to follow remains shrouded in doubt).

Chiefs, Blues to stage first women's Super Rugby game in 'historic' double header

The Chiefs and Blues have announced they will play the first Super Rugby women's game, with the “historic” encounter part of a double header before the Blues’ men host the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa at Eden Park at 4.35pm on May 1.

Blues Women assistant coach and IRB Hall of Famer Anna Richards said in a statement: “This is super-exciting.

“It is the way forward and it is great to see the CEOs from the Blues and the Chiefs be so supportive and committed in pushing this game.

Blues boost as prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi cleared of foul play charge

The hearing found Tu’ungafasi not guilty of contravening Law 9.12 (striking with shoulder) after he had been cited following the Blues’ defeat to the Crusaders at Eden Park on Sunday. The big tighthead had appeared to strike Scott Barrett in the chin with his shoulder during a ruck cleanout late in the match, and received a yellow card at the time by referee Paul Williams.

The Sanzaar citing commissioner deemed post-match the offence met the red-card threshold and Tu’ungafasi elected to defend himself at a judicial hearing.

Blues players Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Kurt Eklund cited for foul play

Tu’ungafasi was yellow carded by referee Paul Williams for slamming his shoulder into Scott Barrett’s chin late in the match, however, the citing commissioner has deemed it met the red card threshold for foul play.

Williams let Eklund off the hook with a penalty for lifting Crusaders wing Sevu Reece and flipping him on to the turf, but Eklund’s wrestling-style move has also been deemed to have met the red card threshold.

Rivalry revived as Blues host Crusaders at Eden Park

     

Encounters between the powerhouses were highlights of the early days of professional rugby but the fixture lost its lustre as the Blues struggled and the Crusaders thrived.

The Blues have been revived after a decade in the doldrums, however, and Leon MacDonald's side are viewed by many as the only team that can prevent the south islanders from taking a fifth successive Super Rugby title.

Blues storm home to down Hurricanes

The Hurricanes made too many mistakes, and the Blues proved adept at punishing them, as evidenced by the first try they scored after four minutes.

Flanker Dalton Papalii dotted down between the posts when he pounced on a botched pass as the Canes looked to run the ball out from inside their 22.

Otere Black added the extras, but the Hurricanes hit back two minutes later. Hooker Asafo Aumua bulldozed his way over to finish a move kick-started by second five-eighth Ngani Laumape's jinking run.

Super Rugby Aotearoa to extend if trans-tasman comp falls over

The tournament, in which the five New Zealand and Australian teams play cross over games in both countries, is scheduled to start in May.

However the competition is under threat due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, with a trans-tasman bubble needed to make the schedule work.

Currently anyone entering New Zealand or returning from overseas must quarantine for two weeks.

That would make the current Super Rugby Trans-Tasman schedule, which has the Chiefs playing in Perth on the opening round before returning to Hamilton for a home game the following week, unworkable.

Blues-Crusaders off again

The match was scheduled to be played on Saturday as part of the "Blues Footy Fest" event at Eden Park.

Blues CEO Andrew Hore says their priority is the safety and wellbeing of their players, staff and fans.

"We completely understand the situation and we support the directive from the New Zealand Government to reduce risk of any exposure and spread of this virus," Hore said.

"We all need to do our part to protect any spread of Covid-19 and at the current Level-3 Alert means we are unable to proceed with the game."

Hurricanes set to host Blues and Chiefs in game of three halves

It is the first time the venue has held a Super Rugby fixture, let alone a game of three halves – in which the three squads will all get to play each other for forty minutes.

Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, says the fixture will not only draw fans locally but from the Wairarapa as well.

“Upper Hutt is excited to host some of New Zealand’s biggest rugby stars. We’ll be coming along to show our support at our fortress, ‘The Stone’ (Maidstone Park).”

Hurricanes CEO, Avan Lee, says that excitement is mutual.