Live updates: Super Rugby Pacific - Blues v Crusaders at Auckland's Eden Park

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Blues 28 Crusaders 34

Blues - Telea, Tuivasa-Sheck, Perofeta & Clarke tries; Barrett 4 conversions

Crusaders - Burke, Fainga'anuku 3 & Blackadder tries; Mo'unga 3 conversions & penalty


40th minute - From the scrum, Barrett finds Heem, who's held up in the maul and Crusaders turn the ball over as the siren sounds. What a game!

39th minute - Blues building phases in front of the posts, but Crusaders steal the ball to end the attack. That could be a gamewinner and it's Whitelock.

Crusaders kick to touch, but the throw from McAlister isn't straight, so one more shot for the BLues from a scrum.

38th minute - Blues call for the scrum inside Crusaders 22. Sotutu off the back and towards the posts.

37th minute - Blues have penalty advantage, but Barrett kicks to the corner, where his No.8 gathers and plunges over in two tackles. Replays show he spilled the ball, which may be a favour to the BLues, who would have needed a sideline converstion to win.

They now come back to play the Blues penalty.

36th minute - Sotutu wins the lineout, Ioane charges in midfield, they shift right to Sotutu... 

35th minute - Blues win a midfield penalty and Mo'unga seems to have made a miracle recovery. Barrett kicks to touch inside Crusaders half, as the Crusaders are back to 15.

34th minute - Sullivan kicks deep and Mo'unga counterattacks. Mo'unga is down injured.

33rd minute - Blackadder charges off the back of the scrum and Heinz kicks towards halfway.

32nd minute - Crusaders have a defensive scrum and a full compliment of forwards, with winger Macca Springer leaving the field.

31st minute - Blues steal the lineout and Heem again carries strongly. BLues are only 10 metres out...

Sullivan and Barrett run straight and hard, but Ioane drops the ball.

30th minute - Crusaders line dropout, Sullivan sets Sotutu loose at the defence. Barrett finds Papali'i with a looping pass, but he's shoved into touch by Burke.

28th minute - From the scrum, Christie finds Heem running to the posts. Sotutu searches for a way through and finally Tucker is driven over... .but replays show he lost the ball over the line.

27th minute - Blues scrum shoves ahead and wins another penalty. They call for another scrum and Doleman warns the Crusaders. Quid pro quo.

26th minute - Ioane charges towards the tryline, Barrett kicks to the corner, where Tucker is chasing, but Doleman brings them back for the penalty and sends Sykes-Martin to the sinbin.

Moody comes back on for the scrum, with Lio-Willie leaving to make room for the replacement prop.

25th minute - Christie runs from the scrum and puts Heem towards the posts. BLues build phases and win a penalty advantage...

24th minute - From about 42 metres out and straight in front, Mo'unga is on target to extend the lead beyond a try, CRU 34-28

From the kickoff, Eklund chases hard and wins the ball for a Blues feed to the scrum inside Crusaders 22. They win a free-kick and call for another scrum.

23rd minute - Crusaders over halfway, but Blues win the ball. Doleman has a call from his touchie for hands in the ruck and Mo'unga points to the posts.

22nd minute - Christie kicks high and Heem wins the leap. Barrrett kicks high this time...

21st minute - Choat has a big gash in his scalp and has lost his bandage. From the scrum, Telea is smashed in a tackle, but the ball falls to Christie.

18th minute - Eklund steals ruck ball and the BLues counterattack. Ioane releases a pass, but has to double clutch.

17th minute - Blackadder wins a lineout on halfway and Crusaders go left. Christie takes down Whitelock, the balls goes loose, but Crusaders to the Blues 10.

15th minute - TRY to Perofeta

Heem has a second run and Blues have penalty advantage for offside. They don't need it, as Perofeta plunges over.

Crusaders might have dodge another bullet there, because they have been infringing quite a bit in recent minutes. Barrett converts, CRU 31-28

14th minute - Blackadder steals a BLues lineout, but kicks out on the full. Sotutu claims the second lineout and Heem breaks tackles in midfield.

13th minute - RTS is replaced by Heem, Tucker wins the lineout, but the Crusaders maul them backwards and steal the ball. Heinz clears, while Laulala and Williams have a chat.

11th minute - BLues scrum five metres out and Sotutu runs from the back. Suafoa carries the ball on and Blues shift left under penalty advantage.

They come back for the penalty and Doleman must be looking closely at the Crusaders offending by now. Barrett kicks to the corner.

Ninth minute - Big run from Clarke down the left, RTS kicks to the corner, regathered by Papali'i and a big charge from Laulala. Doleman is playing advantage for offside and Taylor commits a professional foul, but there's a knockon by Blues in the meantime, so they go back for the first penalty.

Crusaders dodge a bullet there.

Eighth minute - BLues are back to full quota, with Lay, Perofeata and Suafoa returning to the field.

Sixth minute - TRY to Fainga'anuku

After winning a turnover on their own goal-line, Mo'unga kicks across the field and Fainga'anuku gets a good bounce over RTS and then outsprints him to score his third try. Mo'unga converts, CRU 31-21

Fifth minute - Papali'i nailed by Macleod, but Blues still inside the 22. Blues keeping ball in hand metres out, but Crusaders are over the ruck and steal the ball.

Fourth minute - BLues still have the ball and RTS tries to break down the right. Telea bursts upfield and finds Sotutu, who enters the 22.

Third minute - Crusaders win the lineout, but they lose the ball forward. The BLues try to break out of their territory, but only crab across the field.

Second minute - Crusaders scrum on their 22, uncontested. Crusaders shift left and Macleod chips ahead.

Blues scramble into touch.

First minute - Remember, the Blues will start this half with only 13 players, as prop Jordan Lay sits in the sin bin, both starting props injured and fullback Stephen Perofeta dispatched to compensate for golden oldies scrums. Big few minutes looming for the home side.

Barrett kicks off, brother Scott claims the kick.

Barret fields a return kick and runs to halfway. Big run from Clarke down the left, but his pass is behind Christie.


40th minute - Riccitelli grabs a long throw from the Crusaders lineout and the Blues win a ruck penalty. Siren sounds, and Barrett taps and finds touch to end the half, before anything else bad can happen to the Blues.

39th minute - Barrett kicks off and Crusaders have a penalty advantage. Blues are coming unraveled here.

Papali'i ties the ball up in a ruck, so they come back for the penalty.

37th minute - TRY to Fainga'anuku

Crusaders scrum, Finlay Christie has to pack down at the back for the Blues and Perofeta has had to leave. Crusaders go left, where a long pass from Burke finds Fainga'anuku to dive over in the corner.

Mo'unga pulls his sideline conversion, CRU 24-21

36th minute - Aimless kicking, but then Reece splits the Blues defence and then Macleod is brought down just short of the tryline. Crusaders have a penalty and Doleman gives a yellow card to Jordan Lay.

Blues are short in their front row, with two injuries and Lay now in the sin bin. Crusaders call for a scrum, which will be uncontested, but Blues will now lose a second player, so 15 v 13.

35th minute - From the kickoff, Drummond clears towards touch, Barrett fields the kick and is dragged into touch on his 10.

32nd minute - TRY to Fainga'anuku

Blues take a quick lineout, but Crusaders steal ruck ball and are inside BLues 22. They go left and Fainga'anuku has no-one near him, as he scores in the corner.

Mo'unga converts, BLU 21-19

31st minute - Crusaders steal a lineout from the Blues and shift right. Mo'unga puts a kick to touch outside the Blues 22.

29th minute - Tom Christie needed some running repairs, after slipping off a tackle in that try movement.

Crusaders have the ball from the kickoff, Mo'unga kicks high towards Clarke, who claims it with two hands.

Burke drops a kick and Blues go onto attack again. Crusaders scramble the ball to touch on their 22.

27th minute - TRY to Tuivasa-Sheck

Laulala rumbles over halfway to put the BLues on the frontfoot. They have the momentum and when they go right, Ioane finds RTS running an angle back towards the posts to score.

26th minute - Tucker claims the kickoff, Christie puts up a high kick, Burke loses it and Barrett chips ahead.

24th minute - TRY to Clarke

From the scrum, Barrett runs hard and the ball shifts left. Suafoa surges from the ruck and wins a penalty that is quickly tapped by Christie.

He finds Clarke on his shoulder to score. Barrett slots the conversion from the touchline, BLU 14-12

23rd minute - Barrett spills the restart, so Blues have a scrum in Crusaders territory.

21st minute - TRY to Blackadder

Crusaders shift right, where Reece again threatens and pops up a pass from the ground. Drummond is there to put Blackadder over for a try.

Mo'unga converts, CRU 12-7

20th minute - Crusaders have penalty advantage, but Reece almost breaks the defence down the right. Fainga'anuku beats Telea's tackle.

19th minute - Whitelock wins the lineout, but Crusaders maul goes to ground. Fainga'anuku slips a nice pass to Christie.

18th minute - Perofeta kicks off and Fainga'anuku beats a couple of tackles. Blues are penalised at the breakdown and Mo'unga finds touch inside BLues half.

16th minute - TRY to Burke

Crusaders scrum inside the 22, but good Blues effort. They break left and then build some phases through the forwards.

When they come back left, Burke runs an angle that takes him past Choat's despairing tackle. Mo'unga pulls his conversion, BLU 7-5

15th minute - Barrett makes an important tackle on the left, but Williams carries into the Blues 22. Crusaders have a scrum for knockon.

Now James Lay is down injured, so Laulala has to come on and the front-row reserves will have plenty of run tonight.

14th minute - Blackadder again has the ball stripped at the breakdown and Perofeat clears the Blues 22. Hodgman is in trouble with a shoulder injury, so Jordan Lay joins brother James in the Blues front row.

Whitelock wins the lineout and Crusaders have a knockon advantage.

13th minute - Crusaders have the ball on the Blues 10 and buuilding phases.

12th minute - Crusaders defence has driven the Blues back into their own half, but Ioane bursts a few metres and Barrett kicks high. Whitelock recovers a loose ball and bursts upfield.

11th minute - Blues feed to the scrum and Sotutu off the back quickly.

10th minute - Perofeta claims the kickoff and Christie puts up a box kick. Crusaders shift right, but Blackadder drops the ball cold on halfway.

Seventh minute - TRY to Telea

Papali'i wins the lineout at the back and have penalty advantage, but Telea bursts upfield, brushes past Mo'unga and has too much strength to score. Barrettt slots the conversion, BLU 7-0

Sixth minute - Conservative kick from Barrett, still leaving 15 metres for his forwards. RTS spills a hard pass and Mo'unga clears into the Blues half.

Fifth minute - Bad signs for the BLues set-pieces, but they win this lineout and have a penalty advantage.

Fourth minute - First scrum of the match, Blues feed about six metres out.

Sotutu runs off the back, but his pass goes loose and the Crusaders break out of their 22.

Third minute - Blues losing ground back towards halfway, as the Crusaders defence is quickly up.

Barrett chips over the defence for Clarke and Ioane bursts into the 22. Crusaders knock on.

Second minute - Crusaders disrupt the lineout, but Papali'i bursts down the touchline. He can't find Choat infield, Blackadder intercepts.

First minute - James Doleman will be in charge tonight and Mo'unga will kick off for the Crusaders. Sotutu claims the kick and Blues have an early penalty against Taylor at the breakdown.

Barrett finds touch towards the Crusaders 22.

7:04pm - 20,000 expected into the national stadium for this grudge match and the Crusaders run out of the tunnel looking very determined. They haven't lost here snce 2014.


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Super Rugby Pacific clash between the Blue and Crusaders at Auckland's Eden Park.

Few would have guessed that these two teams would enter this rematch of last year's final with a combined 50 percent record through the first three weeks of Super Rugby Pacific 2023.

While the Blues can probably be forgiven a slip up against top Aussies ACT Brumbies, the six-time defending champion Crusaders have stumbled out of the blocks with losses to the Chiefs and Fijian Drua.

The southerners probably need this win more than their northern rivals, as coach Scott Robertson argues his case to be the next All Blacks coach. In hindsight, resting most of his international players at Lautoka probably wasn't a great idea and they will need to bounce back quickly.

The Blues crushed the pitiful Highlanders in their opener, fell to the Brumbies and had to work hard to overcome an Ardie Savea-less Hurricanes outfit last week, so they are still some way off their best.

Both teams have plenty of work to do before they can return to the final, so this encounter looms as a pivotal point in their campaigns.

Join us at 7pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: Blues $1.75, Crusaders $2.10, Draw $16

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-Ricky Riccitelli, 3-James Lay, 4-James Tucker, 5-Cameron Suafoa, 6-Adrian Choat, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Beauden Barrett, 11-Caleb Clark, 12-Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Mark Telea, 15-Stephen Perofeta.

Reserves: 16-Soane Vikena, 17-Jordan Lay, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Tom Robinson, 20-Taine Plumtree, 21-Taufa Funaki, 22-Bryce Heem, 23-Zarn Sullivan

Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tamaiti Williams, 4-Scott Barrett, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Sione Havili Talitui, 9-Mitchell Drummond, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-Dallas McLeod, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Fergus Burke

Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 18-George Bower, 19-Zach Gallagher, 20-Christian Lio-Willie, 21-Willi Heinz, 22-Pepesana Patafilo, 23-Macca Springer



'I've got a job to do': All Blacks coaching race no distraction to Robertson


Alex Powell

The ongoing All Blacks coaching saga is no distraction for Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, despite his side's slow start to 2023.

Incumbent Ian Foster's move not to seek re-appointment for the job in 2024 and assistant Joe Schmidt's not putting himself forward has left an apparent two-horse race for the role of All Blacks head coach.

With six titles in six years as Crusaders coach, Robertson stands head and shoulders above any other NZ-based candidate - but faces stiff competition from Japan boss Jamie Joseph.

Missing a host of key players, Robertson's defending champion Crusaders sit eighth on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, with only one victory after the first three rounds. 

A first-up loss to the tabletopping Chiefs was followed by a convincing win over the Highlanders, but the reigning champions were humbled in a shock loss to Fijian Drua last weekend.

Up next are the Blues in arguably Super Rugby's greatest Kiwi rivalry.

While the Crusaders are almost certain to contend for the Super Rugby title come the end of the season, it's conceivable any home advantage could be squandered if the six-time champions can't secure a top-four finish.

Victory over the Blues would greatly boost those prospects, seeing the Crusaders climb the table at the expense of fellow title hopefuls. 

Robertson's Crusaders travel north to Auckland to face longtime friend and former teammate Leon MacDonald's side on Saturday night, as the All Blacks contender insists there are no distractions on his part away from this Super Rugby campaign. 

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I'm really experienced, I've been around for a long time, understand the game, have been there and done it before," said Robertson.

"I've got a job here to do, and that's my main focus. Whatever happens on the side, I'll front up for that as well."

However, with speculation likely to persist until the next All Blacks coach is appointed, Robertson is deflecting any questions over the timeline of selection back to NZ Rugby.

At the start of March, NZ Rugby (NZR) chair Dame Patsy Reddy said the process would be concluded within 4-6 weeks.

For now, Robertson is staying coy on any developments around the All Blacks coaching appointment process. 

"All those questions go back to NZR, about timing and process," said Robertson. "You can ask me the question, but it's really aligned and aimed at them.

"Anything around the NZR stuff, it's best that I say nothing.

"Do I still want the job? Yeah, nothing's changed on my behalf, but anything to do with the process, anything to do with announcements or other people's decisions is for NZR to answer."