By James Bennett & Michael Oliver
Join the team at 3news.co.nz/sport for live video updates as the Blues take on the Waratahs in Super Rugby playoff action. We will keep you up to date with all the action.
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LIVE COMMENTARY: Blues 26 v Waratahs 13
80 mins - AND THAT'S IT! The Blues are through to the semi finals with that win. Not the most elegant of victories but they all count, they had to work hard in parts but the Ali Williams try sealed the win for the Blues...Look out for post match analysis on 3news.co.nz/sport.
77 mins - Blues look to wind down the clock now and earn a penalty. McAlister will have a kick at goal from 45 metres and HE NAILS IT! That could be enough, the kick was about 50m on the angle....
75 mins - A bit of concern over Benson Stanley, he is holding his arm and looks to be in a bit of pain.
74 mins - TRY WARATAHS and is there hope for the NSW side? Beale made inroads in the midfield before they swung it wide and found Turner on the outside who slid over for the try. Beale can't convert however and the lead stays at 10.
72 mins - VIDEO UPDATED as the Blues brothers come on...Winston Stanley joins brother Benson and Daniel Braid is on with Luke.
70 mins - Blues kick deep and the Waratahs are trying everything now with a quick lineout...they make a break but can't retain possession.
67 mins - Video updated of the Blues try, check it out. Kaino does some excellent work at the breakdown and earns a penalty for his side.
62 mins - Blues spread it wide and find Payne who makes the outside break....he gets the arms free and who is it but Ali Williams out on the wing running the inside line who claims the pass and dives over for the five pointer! Munro adds the extras and the Blues are taking control now.
61 mins - Pakalani knocks on but it isn't called by the officials, justice is served however with a turnover...Blues kick down field.
59 mins - Rocket man goes for a dash down the right hand touch, he makes the break but then throws a wild pass back on the inside which finds the grass. Video coming.
57 mins - A kicking dual ends with Munro finding some vacant space in the 'Tahs 22m, quality kick and the Blues press onto the front foot once more.
55 mins - Blues get another penalty for a Phil Waugh infringement, Munro steps up and....great kick from about 40m out and five in from touch. Blues stretch the lead.
54 mins - Brett has a penalty kick for touch but he misses, not good enough really.
51 mins - There's a scrap for possession on halfway, this game is just hanging in the balance, next team to score could get the upper hand it seems.
48 mins - Blues get a rumble on and start to inch toward the line...deliberate collapse from the Waratahs and the Blues opt to shoot for goal. Munro makes a hash of the kick putting it well wide.
46 mins - Ali Williams makes a bust in mid field he was looking for the off load but no one there to complete the pass. Luke Braid getting through a power of work here, getting the Blues on the front foot. Video coming.
45 mins - Sloppy stuff at the base of the scrum of the Blues and it continues in the back line with Stanley fumbling the ball. Blues lucky to have the put in.
VIDEO UPDATED of the best bits form the first half, check them out.
43 mins - Blues make a promising start to the second spell, retaining the ball well at the breakdown. Forwards and backs combining seamlessly out wide. Penalty! All the good work in undone by Phil Waugh wins the penalty at ruck time. Waratahs relieve down field.
40 mins - Back in business for the second spell, no real wind around so not too much advantage for swapping sides.
Half-time: Blues spin it wide, but lose it forward. Ref blows the whistle, and the Blues take a tight lead into the sheds.
37 min: Waratahs pulled up at the line-out for not throwing straight. Lucky not to have been pinged earlier. Scrum, Blues.
35 min: Penalty Munro, after the Waratahs deliberately spill it forward, 13-8 Blues.
34 min: Lovely strip by Brett, who sets the ball spinning left. Ali Williams throws a shocking pass, but it bounces off Munro's knee.
31 min: Waratahs penalised at the breakdown on their own 22. Blues looking dangerous - chipkick behind the Waratah's defensive line, which was almost collected by Jared Payne, but comes to nothing. Lachie Munrow puts the Blues back in front. Video coming...
29 min: Saili penalised for not rolling away at the ruck. Beale knocks over the penalty, and it's 8-7.
28 min: Smart play by Beale, but it spills back on the Blues side, 10 metres out from the Blues' line. McAlister sends it down-field. They needed that.
27 min: Video updated: Munrow's try, and Phil Waugh's dodgy-looking challenge.
26 min: Video updated: Tom Carter's try. Munrow equaliser is on its way. McAlister converts, 7-5.
24 min: TRY BLUES! Lachie Munrow in the corner, biut that's not the whole story. Phil Waugh slides in and drops the knee in. Video coming...
23 min: McAlister chipkick caught by Joe Rok, who flicks it inside to Jared Payne. He runs a little too long before looking for support. A blown opportunity, but what can they salvage?
19 min: Beale misses the conversion, but it's first blood to the Waratahs. They've deserved it.
18 min: TRY WARATAHS! Awful missed tackles from the sound Blues. Cut-out pass from Beale, the ball flicks up to Tom Carter from the ruck, who pushes through through the corner for a try. Video coming...
16 min: Blues send it through the backline, Brett holds on a tad too long, and his grubber kick goes nowhere.
14 min: Oooh, big hit from Jerome Kaino. Some venom in their defence tonight.
14 min: "Tahs-Tahs-Tahs, error, kick-away. Tahs-Tahs-Tahs, error, kick-away," says one of the boys in the newsroom tonight.
13 min: Blues under some pressure, delivering some thumping defence. Waratahs looking dangerous 22 metres out.
12 min: Video up... Waugh's chargedown.
10 min: Very tit-for-tat, until a chargedown by Phil Waugh! Munrow collects it, but is bundled into touch by the Waratahs openside. Video coming...
8 min: Waratahs spread it right, flicks a pass, but it bounces off Lachie Munrow. Ref rules a knock-on against the Waratahs. Hard luck, they looked good.
6 min: Great work at the breakdown by Timani. He picked his moment to curl in over the ruck and nab the ball.
4 min: Beale with another howler, kicks it out on the full. He also kicked it dead from the kick-off. Ouch.
2 min: Blues with some early ball, Waratahs looking shaky at set-pieces.
1 min: Video up - Afoa and McAlister lead the Blues out.
Kick-off: Waratahs kick off, playing left to right.
7:30pm: Waratahs are out, and the Blues are led out by John Afoa and Luke McAlister, marking their 100th and 50th Super Rugby game tonight respectively. Video coming...
7:20pm: Welcome along to 3 Sport's LIVE VIDEO updates of the Blues v Waratahs from Eden Park. It's a huge match for both teams, who'll both be gunning to keep their season alive. The Blues will be looking to rekindle the form that saw them light up the competition early on. The Waratahs will be looking to play above the swag of injuries that have befallen them.
Blues prop John Afoa will be celebrating his 100th first-class game tonight, and is paying $7.00 at the TAB to score a try tonight.
We will bring you live commentary from 7:30pm, in the meantime you can check out Jim Kayes’ preview of the match.
Ace Waratahs pivot Kurtley Beale is confident the loss of halfback Luke Burgess on Wednesday will not upset his side's chances in Friday night's Super Rugby qualifier against the Blues at Eden Park.
Burgess injured his hand at training on Tuesday and x-rays revealed he had broken a bone.
"Luke's an exceptional player, very unpredictable. It doesn't really matter who is inside me or who is outside me – a lot of them I have played footie with before and I've got confidence in Josh Holmes or Brendon McKibbin," Beale said.
"They're great players within themselves so whatever the selection is there I am pretty happy to go with either."
The change in roles forced on Beale as a result of injuries to five-eighths Berrick Barnes and Daniel Halangahu allowed him to have more responsibility in controlling the game as opposed to the role at fullback which allowed him to pop up anywhere.
Beale said his experience of recent years had resulted in him adopting an attitude of holding himself back and picking his moments to have a go, as opposed to his original instinct to run every time he got the ball.
Beale said given everything the side had been through this year they were thrilled to have the chance to move another step up in the competition.
Given the send-off the side received from their home crowd early in the campaign, he said things had turned around from that point and from that tough situation the players had enjoyed it despite making it hard for themselves at times.
"We're pretty confident this week, we all understand our roles and hopefully we can take that out onto the field," he said.
"When you're in this finals football it is a totally different ball game, anything can happen. The Blues are an exciting team but we are pretty confident we can match them up front."
"We've come here to do a job and a lot of the boys are pretty keen to get out there," he said.
Blues: 1. Charlie Faumuina, 2. Keven Mealamu (capt), 3. John Afoa, 4. Anthony Boric, 5. Ali Williams, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Luke Braid, 8. Peter Saili, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Stephen Brett, 11. Lachie Munro, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Benson Stanley, 14. Joe Rokocoko, 15. Jared Payne.
Replacements: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Tevita Mailau, 18. Chris Lowrey, 19. Daniel Braid, 20. Chris Smylie, 21. Winston Stanley, 22. Sherwin Stowers.
Waratahs: 1. Benn Robinson, 2. John Ulugia, 3. Paddy Ryan, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Sitaleki Timani, 6. Dean Mumm, 7. Phil Waugh (capt), 8. Dave Dennis, 9. Josh Holmes, 10. Kurtley Beale, 11. Sosene Anesi, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Ryan Cross, 14. Atieli Pakalani, 15. Lachie Turner.
Replacements: 16. Elvis Taione, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Pat O'Connor, 19. Chris Alcock, 20. Hugh Perrett, 21. Brendan McKibbin, 22. Bernard Foley.
REFEREE: Chris Pollock