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Blues 50 Rebels 3
The siren goes. The Rebels have been put out of their misery. The Blues take the victory.
The Blues want more. The forwards move the ball to the right inside the Rebels' 22, only for Koroibete to absolutely smash Laulala!
Great defence from the Fijian flyer!
75 mins - TRY BLUES
The lineout throw is horrible, and Nock accepts it gratefully.
The Blues build forward before Akira Ioane has another crack at the line, and this time he gets a second!
Plummer can bring up the Blues' half century, and does.
(BLU 50 REB 3)
Brilliant kick from Plummer, he boots it from inside his own 22 to force a lineout deep into Rebels territory.
66 mins - TRY BLUES
Oh my word. The Blues go close again as Rieko Ioane has another burst. He's carried the ball inside the Rebels' 20, as Plummer nails a perfect cross-field kick out to Lam's wing.
Lam has ample time to wait for the ball, catches it, and scores. Champagne footy from the Blues.
(BLU 43 REB 3)
62 mins - TRY BLUES
The two locks combine as Goodhue slips Cowley-Tuioti through, before the Blues move the ball quickly to Akira Ioane in space!
Akira's got fresh legs after coming off the bench, as he throws a dummy before scoring the Blues' fourth!
Plummer on as a sub will have his first shot of the night, but he pulls it left.
(BLU 36 REB 3)
Rieko Ioane breaks from nowhere and he's through! He passes to Christie back inside him and the Blues are in a brilliant position.
The Blues move the ball wide, but Akira Ioane can't hang on.
56 mins - TRY BLUES
Blues scrum. Christie feeds, Sotutu picks and goes off the back and he scores his second. Too easy.
(BLU 31 REB 3)
Another Blues scrum, another penalty advantage. Black goes to Faiane off the back of the scrum, but the ball's spilled so we'll have another 5m scrum. The Rebels have to be approaching yellow card territory here. The Blues have changed their front row, so Tuungafasi and Laulala are on.
The Blues drive, before the forwards have a crack. Laulala drives at the line, but he's held up.
So that'll be another scrum. The Rebels are warned.
Eklund throws, Sotutu wins it. The Blues drive at the line, Eklund makes a run at the line, but he's stripped.
The Rebels can't hang onto the ball though, and it ends up with Heem who dives for the corner, but it'll be another scrum for the Blues.
The Blues win another penalty at the scrum, and run from inside their own half. The run amounts to nothing though, so we'll go back for the penalty. Tu'inukuafe has won five scrum penalties tonight.
Sullivan goes huge with the kick and the Blues will have a 5m lineout.
47 mins - TRY BLUES
Christie tries a quick kick over the top with the Blues having advantage. Black attacks the line but is tackled so we'll go back for the penalty. It'll be a scrum, and gives the Blues the chance to attack through their front row.
The Blues move the ball through the hands straight to Lam out on the wing, who does well to stay in under the tackle. The Blues go close through Cowley-Tuioti, before Sotutu picks and goes! Has he got over?
The referee wants to check with the TMO, held up is the on field call, but the Blues have advantage. Has he gotten it down?! He has! The try is awarded.
Black's kick is good.
(BLU 24 REB 3)
Penalty against Lam, and the Rebels want the lineout. Haylett-Petty wins the lineout, and the Rebels can attack the Blues' line.
Eloff has a run, before Koroibete does the same, but the Rebels are called for obstruction, Orr taking out Robinson.
Sloppy from the Rebels.
We're back for the second half. To'omua to kick off. The Blues are still down to 14 for the next five minutes.
HALFTIME - TRY BLUES
Knock on against Ili as Black tries to chip over the Rebels' line. We'll finish the half with a scrum on halfway.
What can Tu'inukuafe do to the Rebels this time? Ioane and Black combine from the back of the scrum, and the Blues want to attack after the siren. Black goes wide to Lam's wing and he skins Lomani! Faiane kicks to the wing and the Blues break down the right!
They go wide - all the way to the other wing - where Robinson is waiting, and he holds off the Rebels' defence to score! What a passage of play - but the referee wants to go upstairs, a possible shoulder charge from Eloff on Renata. The try will stand regardless, but the Rebels could be down to 14.
That'd be a harsh card, and it'll just be a penalty, with a warning for Eloff.
Black will finish the half with the conversion attempt, but he can't get it.
(BLU 17 REB 3)
Third lineout in succession for the Rebels, but Josh Goodhue's won it!
The Blues survive and win a penalty, Black clears and they'll have a lineout before halftime.
The Rebels win their own lineout through Leota and they drive for the line. But the Blues hold out and win a penalty of their own! They go quick before Renata is penalised to give the Rebels another go.
Leota wins the throw again, and the Rebels drive again. Uelese goes for the line, where he's held up - but play is stopped, and Choat is shown a yellow card!
The Rebels will have another lineout, this time with an extra man.
The Rebels have a chance as Magnay breaks the line! They've got advantage too after a high takcle.
The hosts go wide to Koroibete, but he can't hang on. The Rebels want the lineout after being bossed at the scrum.
To'omua kicks into the corner.
Tu'inukuafe comes up with another penalty at the scrum, he's been a nightmare for the Rebels' front row.
The Blues want the points from just inside the Rebels' half, and it'll be Sullivan who'll take the shot.
And my word, he's only gone and nailed it! Outstanding kick from Sullivan.
(BLU 12 REB 3)
The Rebels win their own lineout and come up with a huge lineout drive, before they get told to use it.
To'omua throws a pass out the back as he's tackled by Rieko Ioane, but the oncoming Heem does well to get there first and he's in! The Blues' winger races away to score the first try of the game.
The TMO wants to check whether or not Ioane's touched the ball as he tackles To'omua, but it looked fine at first glance?
But the call goes against the Blues and Ioane?! No try, and it'll be a Rebels scrum, and technically, another knock on against Rieko (that's a very harsh call though).
Another penalty called against the Rebels inside their own half, and again the Blues want the points.
Black doesn't miss from right in front.
(BLU 9 REB 9)
The Blues have a chance as they go wide! Sullivan has the chance to put Lam away, but he loses the ball in the tackle.
The ball goes into touch for a Rebels lineout. Errors costing the Blues in the first half!
Eklund throws, Sotutu wins it and the Blues go for the drive and have advantage. The maul collapses and we go back for the penalty. Black kicks into touch for a 5m lineout.
Eklund throws again and the Rebels come away with it! Another To'omua clears to get rid of the danger.
The Blues win a penalty, and boot the ball down field for a lineout. Eklund's throw is dodgy, but the Blues come up with the ball, and have advantage.
Rieko spills the ball for the third time, so we go back for the advantage. The Blues take the lineout in the corner.
The Blues win a penalty from the scrum after a couple of resets. Tu'inukuafe the hero, what do the Blues want to do with it?
They want the points. Black lines up his second kick then, similar placement to his first, and the result is the same.
(BLU 6 REB 3)
The Blues win a lineout against the throw and can attack - but Rieko Ioane spills it again! Uncharacteristic start from Rieko.
Rieko Ioane knocks on inside his own half, and the Rebels will have a great chance from their scrum. Powell feeds, false start, so we'll reset.
Powell feeds again, and the Rebels win a penalty, illegal wheeling the call against Renata.
To'omua has the chance to level the scores with his boot, and does.
(BLU 3 REB 3)
Both sides trade kicks, as To'omua fires one into touch for another Blues lineout. Eklund throws to Cowley-Tuioti and the Blues look to run again.
Robinson carries the ball inside the Rebels' 20. Advantage Blues, so Christie looks to kick over the top, straight into touch though.
Will the Blues take the points? They will. Black lines up his first kick of the night, and makes no mistake to put the Blues in front.
(BLU 3 REB 0)
To'omua slices his clearing kick, and the Blues have an attacking lineout inside the Rebels' half.
Eklund throws and Goodhue wins it. The Blues drive from the lineout before Christie goes off the back.
Black spills the ball though, and we'll have the first scrum of the evening, Rebels' feed.
The Rebels kick to the Blues and the Kiwis look to attack inside the opening minute. Faiane nearly makes a break, as Christie recycles well.
Lam stabs a kick through for the chasing Blues, but it dribbles into touch.
We're away as the Blues kick off to get things started in Melbourne.
We're all but ready to go in Melbourne, both sides are about to emerge from the sheds, with kick off not far away.
Good evening! We've already been treated to a thriller tonight, as the Crusaders came within a missed kick of being held to a draw against the Brumbies.
Here's hoping that the Blues v Rebels can follow suit, with Kiwi teams currently 3-0 in the first week of this new competition.
Welcome to Newshub's live updates of the Blues v Melbourne Rebels from AAMI Park.
After a disappointing end to Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Blues look to go again in search of their first piece of silverware since 2003.
They'll be up against the Melbourne Rebels first up, with a 4-3 win to loss record in the Kiwi side's favour.
The Blues are still without skipper Patrick Tuipulotu, who they hope will be available as soon as possible, having been out of action with a neck injury.
Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Marcel Renata, 4-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson (c), 7-Adrian Choat, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Otere Black, 11-AJ Lam, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Bryce Heem, 15-Zarn Sullivan.
Reserves: 16-Soane Vikena, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Jacob Pierce, 20-Akira Ioane, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Mark Telea.
Rebels: 1-Cameron Orr, 2-Jordan Uelese, 3-Cabous Eloff, 4-Rob Leota, 5-Ross Haylett-Petty, 6-Josh Kemeny, 7-Richard Hardwick, 8-Michael Wells, 9-Joe Powell, 10-Matt To'omua (c), 11-Marika Koroibete, 12-Campbell Magnay, 13-Stacey Ili, 14-Frank Lomani, 15-Tom Pincus.
Reserves: 16-James Hanson, 17-Matt Gibbon, 18-Lucio Sordoni, 19-Steve Cummins, 20-Michael Icely, 21-James Tuttle, 22-Carter Gordon, 23-Lachie Anderson.
Blues $1.15, Rebels $4.95
Leon MacDonald could miss Blues opening clash against Melbourne Rebels with minor cold
The Blues will head to Melbourne without head coach Leon MacDonald. The former All Blacks back utility was absent from training on Thursday, opting to remain home with a minor cold.
Assistant coach Tana Umaga took the reins in MacDonald's absence and he may do so again come Saturday night against the Rebels, in the opening round of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
Newshub understands MacDonald won't travel with his squad on Thursday, but could fly into Melbourne on Friday or Saturday.
It's another unwanted distraction for the Blues, who are without two senior players in captain Patrick Tuipulotu and outstanding loose forward Dalton Papali'i, while also battling a run of just two wins in their last five games.
Umaga told media on Thursday, that while MacDonald's was missing because of a "bit of a sniffle", he is hopeful the coaching staff will be at full strength for the opening round of the competition.
"We're trying to take every precaution to make sure we play our role as part of that," Umaga said.
"He's got to make sure he keeps in touch with doc, but I'm sure he'll be fine whether he travels today or tomorrow - he'll get over there at some stage.
Umaga noted that MacDonald and the medical staff decided to keep him home as a precaution just 24 hours out from travelling in the Australian-New Zealand border bubble.
"We get to travel, which is an anomaly these days. That's something to be excited about, but we're a bit cautious with everything that's happening in the world.
"We've got a job to do and we're looking forward to getting this competition underway."
The Blues are looking at redemption after an underwhelming Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign that left them a win out of the final.
Despite being favourites to join the Crusaders in the final, two heavy losses to the Crusaders, and a pair of shock defeats at the hands of the Highlanders and Chiefs, left the squad on the outside looking in.
Expectations are high again on the Blues, second-favourites with the NZ Tab behind the Crusaders, but within the squad, there is huge respect for the written-off Australian franchises.
Stand-in skipper Tom Robinson said the underdog Aussie outfits pose a dangerous threat to a predicted all-Kiwi finale.
"I reckon the bookies are crazy," Robinson said. "All the footage we've seen of the Aussie teams, they're good.
"We're expecting the intensity to be higher than the New Zealand competition, that's the mindset we're bringing anyway.
"We've had some pretty honest conversations over the past week and we feel like we've set the foundation for us to win this competition.
"We weren't happy with how we went in Aotearoa.
"We were guilty of thinking we'd roll on the back of what happened last year.
"We're here to do the business."
But the Blues could find themselves bankrupt if they fall short at the first hurdle on Saturday.