Live updates: Super Rugby Trans-Tasman - Blues v Western Force at Auckland's Eden Park

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Blues 31 Force 21

Blues - 2 Sotutu, Telea, Papalii tries; Black 4 conversions, penalty goal

Force - Kaitu'u, Kuridrani, Kearney tries; Prior 2 conversions, Miotti conversion

Live updates have concluded. Click here for a full match wrap and highlights. 

Full time 

80 +1 mins

The Force will have one final opportunity to attack from the scrum as the siren goes. They come down the short side but Kearney is driven back in a strong tackle by Ruru, which causes the Force fullback into touch. 

That will be full-time and the Blues are into the final and will host the Highlanders next Saturday. 

80 mins

The Force are throwing the ball around as they see their season winding down. Olowofela makes a strong run down to halfway but at the breakdown, Ruru wins the ball back. Perofeta looks for touch with his kick but it doesn't find it and goes dead. 

79 mins - Try Force to Rob Kearney

From the lineout, the Force come wide and Miotti shows great quick hands to find Kahui who draws and passes the final defender to put Kearney over in the corner. 

Miotti converts the try. (BLU 31-21)

77 mins 

The Force win possession back from a Blues error and sees Kahui kick in behind it bounces up and grubbers on to show his soccer skills. Sullivan wins the race to clean up. He looks to offload but Kahui comes back to intercept. At the breakdown, the Force win a penalty and they will have a lineout just five metres out. 

76 mins 

The Blues are building their attack inside the Force half as Plummer goes for a chip kick across the field but AJ Lam can't handle it and knocks it on into touch. The visitors will have a lineout just short of their 10-metre line.

75 mins 

The Force are building their attack just outside their 22 but their play as scrappy as passes go to the ground from strong Blues defence. After nine phases, Prior is forced to clear into touch on halfway.

73 mins 

The Blues work a great set move from the scrum, which puts Rieko Ioane into a huge hole but the Blues midfielder can't handle the pass from Telea and has knocked the ball on. The Force will have a scrum on their own 22.

71 mins 

The Force have a lineout on the Blues 10-metre line but they have made a meal of it as they fail to throw the ball in straight. 

70 mins - Yellow Card Blues to Ray Niuia

From the scrum, the home side attack through the forwards as Tuipulotu goes close. After five phases, the home side come wide to the backs as Sullivans shows great quick hands to fire a pass out to Telea to score in the corner. 

Just as Black is lining up his kick the TMO has stepped in and called a penalty on Blues reserve hooker Ray Niuia for an illegal cleanout. His arm has made contact with Prior's head and the home side's hooker has been sent to the sin bin.  

68 mins 

Sotutu makes a break through the heart of the Force defence. He grubbers behind and it has perfect weight on it to cause Miotti to scramble back on his own line. He offloads to McIntyre who can own clear the ball but it goes dead and the Blues will have a scrum five metres out. 

66 mins 

The Force win the restart to give them possession but Renata makes a huge tackle. The momentum of the tackle sees the Blues dominate at the ruck to win a breakdown. The home side will have a lineout just past the Force 10-metre line. 

64 mins - Penalty goal Blues to Black 

The Blues win their own lineout and attack through Telea. Marcel Renata takes the ball to the line and is held up to make it a maul but the Force drag it down when it's going forward to give away a penalty. 

The Blues choose to take the three points and Black nails it. (BLU 31-14)

62 mins 

The Force steal another lineout and go straight back onto the attack as Thrash makes a barnstorming run up to the Blues 10-metre line. Just as the Force are building momentum, Hoskins Sotutu wins a breakdown penalty. The Blues will have a lineout just short of the visitors 22. 

61 mins 

The Force are building their attack but after eight phases, the visitors give away a breakdown penalty to ease the pressure that was building on the Blues. 

Black gives the home side a lineout just inside the visitors half. 

60 mins 

The Force has all the momentum. Prior puts a high kick up and as Olowofela comes through to compete Heem has knocked him off the ball to give away a penalty. 

The Force have a lineout on the Blues 22. 

58 mins - Try Force to Tevita Kuridrani

The Force set the lineout maul but the Blues defend it well to cause the Force to use their backs as Kahui go inches short. After nine phases a hard-running Tevita Kuridrani has burst through two tackles to score next to the posts. Is the comeback on? 

Prior converts the try. (BLU 28-14)

55 mins 

The Blues have a lineout just inside their own half. They set a lineout maul but Thrash has done well to come through the middle and wrap the ball up to win the turnover. 

The Force will have a scrum on the Blues 10-metre line. The TMO has spotted foul play after the whistle and awarded the Force a penalty and they will have a lineout just inside the Blues 22. 

53 mins 

The Force contest the lineout and steal it against the throw but at the breakdown, the Blues steal the ball back. Faiane makes a break and looks to grubber in behind but the ball comes off the Blues midfielders knee so it's called a knock on. 

51 mins 

The Blues dominate at scrum time to win a penalty with Karl Tu'inukuafe who has just come on showing his power. The home side will have a lineout just inside the Force 22. 

50 mins 

The Blues have just lost their way here as Eklund fails to throw the lineout in straight to give the Force a scrum on halfway. 

49 mins - Try Force to Feleti Kaitu’u

The Force to set the lineout drive and after it looks like the Blues have defended it well, hooker Feleti Kaitu’u has broken off and reached out to score. 

Prior converts the try. (BLU 28-7)

47 mins

The Force are attacking just inside the Blues 22 but the home sides defence is resolute not allowing the Force to make any headway.

After 13-phases Papalii wins a breakdown turnover to ease the pressure. But as they set to clear the Force do well to win a breakdown penalty and they will have a lineout just five metres out. 

44 mins

The Blues are looking to build their attack on halfway as Laulala makes a strong run into a hole but Gerard Cowley-Tuioti has caused obstruction to give away a penalty. 

The Force will have a lineout just outside the Blues 22. 

42 mins

The Force go short from the restart and Kahui wins the ball back to give the Force first opportunity with the ball in hand in the second half. After four phases, Hodgman does well to come through and turn the ball over. Black kicks in behind and finds touch on the Force 22.  

Kickoff - The Force get the second half underway. The Blues are just 40-minutes away from their first final since 2003. A victory here will guarantee them a home final. 

40 mins

There is enough time for the restart as the siren goes but the Blues are happy with the half as Christie kicks the ball into touch and that will be halftime. 

39 mins - Try Blues to Hoskins Sotutu

The Blues are building their attack from the drop-out just inside the visitors half. After four phases, Faiane puts down a regulation pass to hand possession back but only for the Force to clear their lines.

Christie is back to clean up and immediately makes a break through the heart of the Force defence. He offloads to Heem who gets deep into the 22. After seven phases, Sotutu picks and goes and crashes over for the Blues fourth try. 

Black converts the try. (BLU 28-0)

36 mins

The Blues are attacking straight from the kickoff as they throw the ball wide to Heem who kicks in behind. It goes into the in-goal area and McIntyre grounds it for a goal-line dropout.  

34 mins - Try Blues to Dalton Papalii

The Blues are focused on playing field position as Sullivan puts a brilliant kick in behind and the Force will have a defensive lineout indie their 22. 

The Blues steal the lineout and are building their attack through Gerard Cowley-Tuioti who goes inches short. After seven phases, Sotutu dummies then passes to Black who has space. He draws and passes to Dalton Papalii who runs onto a nice short ball to score under the post. 

Black converts the try. (BLU 21-0) 

31 mins 

The Force are building their attack on halfway ut fast line sped from the Blues forces a poor pass to Kahui and he knocks the ball on into touch. 

The home side will have a scrum just inside the visitors half.  

29 mins - Try Blues to Mark Telea

Heem attacks off the back of a strong Blues scrum and gets into the 22. After several phases of attack through the forwards, they come wide to Sullivan who fires a wide pass to Telea who takes the ball on the bounce. He gathers and has too much pace to slide over in the corner. 

Black converts the try. (BLU 14-0)

26 mins 

The Blues are looking very dangerous with the ball in hand as they attack through their forwards. After eight phases, Santiago Medrano wins a crucial breakdown penalty to ease the pressure and the Force will have a lineout just short of their 10-metre line. 

At the lineout, the Force fail to throw the ball straight and the Blues will have a scrum. 

25 mins 

The Force pre-engage at scrum time for the second time tonight and the referee awards a penalty. Black goes for touch and gives his side a lineout on the 22. 

24 mins 

The Force are looking to attack but Olowofela throws a hospital pass to Kahui who gets smashed by Telea but does well to hang onto the ball. At the breakdown, the home side looking to win the ball back but they knock it on and the Force will have a scrum just short of halfway.

22 mins 

From the lineout, the Force are attacking through their forwards but Patrick Tuipulotu makes a huge tackle to dislodge the ball. As the Blues set to clear, the visitors give away an offside penalty and they will have a lineout just short of the 10-metre line.  

20 mins 

The Force are looking strong with the ball in hand as Kearney showing great hands to put Kahui into a hole. After eight phases, the Force wins a penalty and will have a lineout 15-metres out. 

19 mins 

Both sides are trading kicks looking for field possession before Sullivan finds touch with his kick just short of halfway. Force will have a lineout on the Blues 10-metre line. 

17 mins 

From the lineout, McIntyre chips over the top and can only find Telea who breaks into the backfield and gets down to the Force 22. After two phases, Sullivan knocks the ball on in contact. The Force will have a scrum on their own 22. 

15 mins 

The Blues are keeping it tight and attack through their forwards. After 10-phases of resolute defence, the Force win a breakdown penalty through Ollie Callan and they will have a lineout just outside their 22. 

13 mins 

The momentum is all in the Blues favour as they muscle up in defence. The Force are under pressure at the breakdown and give away a penalty. The home side will have a lineout just inside the 22. 

11 mins - Try Blues to Hoskins Sotutu

From the scrum, Telea puts a nice cross-field kick across to Telea who steps inside one defender before being brought down by Kahui At the next phase, Rieko Ioane turns a ball inside to Hoskins Sotutu who sprints into a huge hole and galops 20-metres to score. 

Black converts the try. (BLU 7-0)

8 mins

The conditions are playing a factor here early. The Force have their best field position of the contest so far as they attack just short of the 22 but they have knocked the ball on in contact. 

7 mins

The conditions are quite slippery and see the Blues knock the ball on. The Force gather and kick it off downfield. Heem gets back on his own line to clean up the danger and clears into touch just outside the 22.   

6 mins

The Force are attacking on halfway but Eklund does well to win a turnover and quickly offloads it to Sotutu. He grubbers in behind and it beats everyone and goes into touch. 

4 mins

The Force are building their attack just short of halfway but after five phases it comes to nothing but the referee has awarded a penalty. McIntyre gives the Force a lineout on the Blues 10-metre line. 

2 mins

The Blues will get the first opportunity to attack with a lineout just short of the 22. The home side wins the lineout but Thrash has done well to cause an error from Christie and the Force will have a scrum just outside their 22. 

Kickoff - The Blues get the contest underway through Otere Black.

7:03pm - We are just moments from kickoff as Patrick Tuipulotu leads the Blues out as they hunt a spot in the final for the first time since 2003. 

6:57pm - We are just seven minutes from kickoff on a perfect Auckland night. Ben O’Keeffe will be the man in the middle for this contest. 


Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash between the Blues and Western Force at Auckland's Eden Park. 

The Blues have everything to play for in their final round clash with their grand final destiny in their own hands. If they can secure a bonus point win they will host next Saturday's decider at Eden Park.

The Auckland side have been clinical throughout the trans-Tasman competition with three convincing victories against Rebels, Waratahs and Brumbies before sneaking past the Reds last time out. 

The Force have been one of the impressive Australian sides' in the competition but have failed to register a victory against their New Zealand rivals. 

They were piped by the Chiefs by a sole point in the opening round before two tight defeats against the Crusaders and Highlanders but did struggle against the Hurricanes in their first match across the Tasman since 2017. 

The Blues hold the wood over the Perth side, winning nine of the 11 encounters with the Force picking up a sole victory while there has been one draw. 

The Force picked up their sole win came back in 2008 came at North Harbour Stadium and they will be looking to play party poopers and coast the Auckland side their first grand final spot since 2003. 

TAB odds:

Blues $1.02 Force $11.00

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Patrick Tuipulotu, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Otere Black, 11-Mark Telea, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Bryce Heem, 15-Zarn Sullivan

Reserves: 16-Ray Niuia, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Josh Goodhue, 20-Akira Ioane, 21-Jonathan Ruru, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-AJ Lam

Force: 1-Tom Robertson, 2-Feleti Kaitu’u, 3-Santiago Medrano, 4-Jeremy Thrush, 5-Sitaleki Timani, 6-Fergus Lee-Warner, 7-Kane Koteka, 8-Ollie Callan, 9-Ian Prior (C) 10-Jake McIntyre, 11-Jordan Olowofela, 12-Kyle Godwin, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 14-Richard Kahui, 15-Jake Strachan 

Reserves 16-Andrew Ready, 17-Angus Wagner, 18-Greg Holmes, 19-Ryan McCauley, 20-Brynard Stander, 21-Michael McDonald, 22-Domingo Miotti, 23-Rob Kearney

Petrol company Ineos reportedly signing on as All Blacks sponsor

UK petroleum company Ineos looms as a possible major sponsor for the All Blacks, when their contract with AIG ends next year.

NZ Herald reports the deal still needs approval from apparel provider Adidas and the NZ Rugby Players' Association, but would see Ineos become back-of-shorts sponsor for all national teams - All Blacks, Black Ferns, Sevens, NZ U20 and NZ Māori. 

All Blacks perform a pre-test haka against Argentina
All Blacks perform a pre-test haka against Argentina Photo credit: Photosport

While Ineos is best know to Kiwis for its support of Team UK's ill-fated America's Cup campaign in Auckland earlier this year, it is also a major backer over a variety of sports, including a Formula One motorsport team, a Tour de France cycling outfit and two of Europe's top football clubs.

AIG - a US insurance company - has enjoyed a 10-year relationship with NZ Rugby, but its replacement will not automatically inherit pride-of-place branding on the All Blacks jersey, which could be sold to another sponsor.

The Herald understands the deal, worth $5-8 million, was struck with Ineos chief executive Sir Jim Ratcliffe during his America's Cup visit to New Zealand.

Environmentalists have accused Ineos of investing heavily in elite sport to distract from its environmentally unfriendly core business.

NZ Rugby has reportedly carried out due diligence on the proposed deal and is expected to announce the partnership within the next few weeks.