Live updates: Super Rugby Aotearoa - Highlanders v Blues

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Highlanders 21 Blues 32

Fulltime

Blues 32 (Christie 2, Akira Ioane, Faiane & Tuungafasi tries; Barrett 2 conversions & penalty) Highlanders 21  (Dixon & Frizell tries; Josh Ioane conversion & 3 penalties)

80th minute: The whisle blows to end the game - the Blues take the Gordon Hunter Memorial trophy, named after the man who coached both these teams.

That's also their first win under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium - their last win in Dunedin was 2011 at Carisbrook.

79th minute: Highlanders are flinging the ball right and left, Nareki makes another dart down the left, but Josh Ioane spills the ball in a tackle. Blues have a chance to kill the game from here.

78th minute: From the kickoff, Nareki sprints from his own 22, inside the Blues half to launch another attack.

76th minute: TRY to Frizell

From the scrum, Highlanders forwards surge towards the line again and finally Frizell is over.

Josh Ioane tries to convert kickly, but hooks it wide.

75th minute: Highlanders forwards maul towards the line, Parkinson lunges over the low tackle of Duffie, but he's held up over the line - five-metre scrum.

Tuungafasi comes back on the field for the scrum, Lambourn has left.

74th minute: From the lineout, Blues are penalised again and Mafileo is marched.

73rd minute: Another penalty against the Blues, Fraser delivers a double blast and a warning. Forward packs come together to exchange pleasantries.

72nd minute: Blues are still camped in their own 22, Frizell wins a lineout for the Highlanders and continue to pressure the goal-line.

Barret has left the game, replaced by Plummer.

70th minute: Josh Ioane puts a kick to the left corner, and Barrett and McKay race for the ball. McKay tries to keep the ball in play, but knocks on.

So Black has replaced Telea, with Duffie moving to wing and Barrett to fullback.

67th minute: Defensive feed for the Blues under their posts, Ioane of the back and Barrett clears to the 10m... so obviously he's still on the field.

66th minute: Highlanders are hot on attack and earn another penalty. Akira Ioane puts the choker hold on Selby-Rickett, who loses the ball forward over the line.

65th minute: Blues scrum is under pressure, but Christie eventually clears his line, only to the 22 though.

63rd minute: Highlanders win the lineout and the Blues forwards thwart their attempt to maul over the line.

Pierce leaves, after Lambourn passes his HIA.

62nd minute: Highlanders continue to pile on pressure and win another penalty - tackled without the ball by Eklund.

60th minute: Highlanders are surging towards the goal-line and Tuipulotu is pinged for offside. Hunt's kick to touch is pefect.

59th minute: Fraser pings Faiane for a high tackle on Nareki and Hunt kicks to touch. Too late to take shots at goal now.

Barrett has left the field, replaced by Otere Black.

58th minute: Lock Jacob Pierce has replaced openside flanker Lambourn in the Blues pack. Coltman has replaced Dixon at Highlanders hooker.

55th minute: Smith feeds the scrum, but the Blues pack overpower their counterparts and win a penalty. Tuipulotu points to the posts and Barrett duly obliges, Blues 32-16.

54th minute: Hodgman replaces Tuinukuafe in the Blues front row.

Blues try to launch an attack off the scrum, but Faiane spills a pass from Akira Ioane and the Highlanders try to bust out of their 22.

They turn the ball over, but Fraser goes back for the Blues knock-on right in front of the posts, Highlanders scrum feed.

52nd minute: From the scrum, Christie goes shortside and links with Clarke. Blues forwards make ground towards the line and Barrett's high kick is taken by Hunt, but Fraser is playing another advantage.

Blues take a five-metre scrum from the penalty.

51st minute: Highlanders feed a defensive scrum inside their 22, but after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to feed, Fraser awards a free kick to the Blues.

48th minute: Highlanders steal the lineout throw, but struggle to get away from their own tryline. Eventually they clear to the 22.

47th minute: Blues win a penalty inside Highlanders half and Barrett kicks to the corner. Papalii is off, applying ice to his hip, with Carroll taking his place.

46th minute: Ioane brothers combined on the right, but Akira's return pass to Reiko is low and he can't hold it.

43rd minute: TRY to Christie

Blues counteruck and win the ball inside Highlanders territory.

Barrett throws an outrageous long pass to Lambourn sprinting down the left touch. Clarke takes the inside pass and finds Christie lurking on his shoulder again for his second try.

Barrett misses the conversion from wide out.

42nd minute: From the kickoff, Highlanders are on attack, but great work by Papalii at the breakdown turns the ball over and Blues have a clearing penalty.

Halftime

Blues 24 (Akira Ioane, Christie, Faiane & Tuungafasi tries; Barrett 2 conversions) Highlanders 16 (Dixon try; Josh Ioane conversion & 3 penalties)

40th minute: TRY to Tuungafasi

Akira Ioane storms off the back of the scrum and when the ball is recycled, Tuungafasi is next man to plunge at the line.

Barrett converts and it's halftime.

38th minute: From the lineout, Clarke makes another incisive run to launch a Blues attack. Highlanders are called offside inside their 22.

Tomkinson tackles Barrett without the ball as Christie kicks through to the goal-line. Blues call for a scrum about 10m out.

36th minute: Barrett kicks deep, but Ioane fields and finds touch just inside the Highlanders half.

34th minute: Lambourn is whistled for offside just inside the Blues half and Ioane lines up another penalty attempt from about 45m. It's over, Blues 17-16.

31st minute: TRY to Faiane

Blues steal the ball in midfield and spread it left. Clarke makes a half-break, finds Christie looming outside and then he passes to Faiane inside him.

Barrett pulls his conversion attempt left.

30th minute: Josh Ioane slots the penalty to put the Highlanders ahead, 13-12.

28th minute: Highlanders trying to build something on the right, but Papalii is lurking in the backline and picks off a loose pass, sprinting 75m to score under the posts.

Fraser wants to review the involvement of Tuinukuafe, who was lying on the ground in an offside position. Smith tripped over him and Fraser rules that has impacted play.

No try, but now Highlanders have a penalty handy to the posts.

25th minute: Highlander forwards grinding down the Blues defence, but Hunt enters the breakdown from the side and Blues have a relieving penalty under their posts.

Barrett clears to the 10.

24th minute: From a lineout, Smith finds Gregory on the burst and he finds a half-gap. Josh Ioane throughs long and left to Gregory again.

22nd minute: From the kickoff, Smith puts up a high kick, expertly fielded on the run by Duffie and the Blues backs are in flight. Clarke and Duffie race inside the 22, but Frizell forces a relieving penalty at the breakdown.

20th minute: TRY to Dixon

Whetton wins the lineout and the Highlanders forwards storm over the line, with their captain in the driver's seat. Josh Ioane converts.

18th minute: Highlanders win the attacking lineout and earn another penalty inside the 22. Must be close to a warning for the Blues.

Hunt kicks to the corner.

17th minute: From the lineout, Josh Ioane makes ground to halfway and the Blues are pinged again for offside. This time, Hunt kicks to the corner.

16th minute: From the kickoff, Highlanders are trying to bust out of their 22 and earn a penalty at the breakdown - it's against Papalii. Hunt clears to halfway.

13th minute: Parkinson wins an attacking lineout for the Highlanders and they try to build phases. They're playing under advantage and Landers have a penalty on the 10m mark in midfield.

Josh Ioane calls for the kicking tee - it's over. Blues 12-3.

10th minute: TRY to Christie

Josh Ioane fields another high kick and sets the backline in action, giving Gregory space down the left. He's eventually taken down by Telea and the ball is turned over.

Barrett kicks acrossfield to Clarke, who finds Rieko Ioane inside and then Christie in support. Barrett converts.

Seventh minute: TRY to Akira Ioane

Blues feed another five-metre scrum and apply the pressure. Akira Ioane peels off the back, almost spills the ball, but eventually runs over the top of Gregory to score.

Barrett's conversion misses across the face of the posts.

Fourth minute: From the five-metre scrum, Smith strays offside and Fraser plays advantage. The Blues spill the ball in midfield, so they come back for the penalty.

Third minute: Cowley-Tuioti wins the lineout and the Blues forwards roll over the tryline. Eklund gets up with the ball, but Fraser calls for a video review and  finds the ball was planted on Aaron Smith's boot.

No try, that's freakish.

Second minute: Barrett puts a high kick up from halfway and Josh Ioane fields, but Highlanders are penalised at the breakdown - midfield, about 30m out.

Barrett kicks for the corner.

First minute: Blues kick off and Josh McKay fields the ball on his 22.

Mike Fraser will referee this afternoon.

Players and spectators observe a moment's silence for former All Blacks and Auckland lock Andy Haden, who died this week.

One thing for certain, weather isn't going to play much part in this contest under the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof today.

*****

Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Highlanders and Blues in Dunedin.

After consecutive losses to the Crusaders and Hurricanes, and with the bye looming next week, the Auckland side probably needs a bonus-point win to keep their title hopes alive.

The form team out of coronavirus lockdown, the Blues seem to have gone off the boil in recent weeks and were a little fortunate to edge the winless Chiefs last week.

Across the field, the Highlanders have just two wins over the Chiefs to their credit, but have certainly been an improvement on their spotty form before COVID-19 struck.

Last time these teams met, the Blues prevailed 27-24 at Eden Park, with flanker Dalton Papalii scoring a try double, including the matchwinner.

TAB: Blues $1.61, Highlanders $2.20

Blues' match-saving hero eyes All Blacks honours

For all of the plaudits surrounding the Blues' gallant goal-line stand in the dying stages of their victory over the Chiefs last week, plenty of doubt hung over its legitimacy.

Camped on their line for the final five minutes against a Chiefs side brimming with momentum, the hosts ultimately sealed the win with a defensive penalty, courtesy of late substitute Josh Goodhue.

The Chiefs pleaded with the referees over both a perceived Blues infringement in not releasing the tackled player and the possibility the ball had been grounded for a try, and that conjecture continued afterwards.

Ask the man behind the moment and he'll tell you - somewhat predictably - that his play on the ball was completely above board.

"It's hard, because you're in the moment," Goodhue tells Newshub. "But from what I felt, he was making a play for the line and he's allowed that one placement forward.

"I obviously wasn't just going to let him put the ball over the line, so I just grabbed the ball and held on to stop the try and the decision came our way."

The blast on the referee's whistle that followed sparked jubilant scenes, with a beaming Goodhue the subject of riotous head and back-patting.

Josh Goodhue in action for the Blues
Josh Goodhue in action for the Blues. Photo credit: Photosport

"It was pretty unexplainable in a way," the 25-year-old recalls. "It's a whole lot of emotions running through you at once, and the boys just got up and I was stoked. 

"It was a pretty surreal feeling."

The moment was even more special after a challenging couple of years for Goodhue.

Since starring for both New Zealand secondary schools and U20 sides, the Northlander has been plagued by setbacks that have prevented him finding any rhythm at the professional level.

Goodhue has had ongoing concussion, shoulder and ankle issues, but feels he's now starting to find his stride at the game's next level.

"I've had quite a few injuries over the years and it's probably stopped me from getting to where I wanted to be, so right now, it's just about getting better as a person and as a player."

Live updates: Super Rugby Aotearoa - Highlanders v Blues

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Goodhue to participate in a Blues campaign that looked to be lost, after he limped from the field in their week three fixture back in February.

"I was diagnosed as out for 6-8 weeks, so I rehabbed all through lockdown. If COVID hadn't have hit, I wouldn't have played any of the season, so it's a second chance for me."

With the All Blacks short on depth at lock, taking into account Brodie Retallick's sabbatical and Scott Barrett's injury, Goodhue's head-spinningly quick graduation to join twin brother Jack in the test arena is well within the realms of possibility.

 "Yeah, I hear that stuff from my parents," Goodhue laughs. "They're the only ones who really talk - I'll just keep playing how I'm playing.

"I've always prided myself on work rate. I guess that's similar to Brodie in a way.

"I bring a bit of stuff everywhere and I'm a good ball-playing lock as well.

"The black jersey would be great, but right now, it's just about getting better. If it comes, I'd be stoked."

The more urgent matter is an impending showdown with Highlanders counterpart and good mate Pari Pari Parkinson on Sunday, when high-stakes bragging rights will be on the line.

"He's a unit," Goodhue notes. "He's a hard man to put on the ground and aerially he's pretty hard to compete with.

"But that's what we live for and that's why I love playing the game. To try and get one over him would be awesome."

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