Live updates: Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final - Blues v Fijian Drua at Auckland's Eden Park

  • 08/06/2024

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Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Blues v Fijian Drua Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final at Auckland's Eden Park.

After letting regular season honours slip through their fingers with a last-minute try to the Chiefs last week, the Aucklanders must now regroup to book their spot in a home semi against the dangerous Fijians.

Admittedly, the Drua are far more dangerous at home than on the road, with all six of their wins this season either at Lautoka or Suva.

The Blues dynamic has had to accommodate the return of All Blacks inside backs Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta, who have both looked rusty in their comeback performances. Perofeta has been moved to fullback tonight, with Harry Plummer reinstated at first-five.

Join us at 7pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: Blues $1.02, Drua $11


Hurricanes content to take advantage of top seeding for Super Rugby Pacific playoffs

Even three days out from the first Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final, the physiological battle between the remaining sides has already begun.  

The tabletopping Hurricanes have responded to the Blues' claims that finishing at the top isn't as beneficial as you might think, although the stats may not back them up.

There are plenty of smiles at training, with the Wellington-based side relishing their first top-of-the-table finish since 2016.

"It’s a good challenge for us, because last couple of years, we got to this stage and lost," reflected assistant coach Cory Jane. "It’s cool we get to play at home."

The Hurricanes are happy to claim top spot and the Blues seem happy to concede it, after the Chiefs denied them the crucial bonus point that would've seen them finish first.

"The danger of finishing first is suddenly your feet leave the ground and you're not in," insisted Blues coach Vern Cotter afterwards.

Jane scoffs.

"I'd rather be at No.1 than No.2, but it is what it is," he said. "Everything's normal for you, you get to train at your facility and have captains run at your stadium, and like I said, you get to stay in your own beds." 

Asafo Aumua runs onto Sky Stadium.
Asafo Aumua runs onto Sky Stadium. Photo credit: Getty Images

As for the Blues players, halfback Finlay Christie could see both sides of the debate.

"Our goal was to finish with that bonus point, but at the end of the day, we finished second on the table," he said. "At the start of the season, I guess your goal was finishing top four, so we’re pretty happy with that." 

History suggests finishing first does, in fact, go a long way to winning the title. Of the 26 teams crowned champions over the years, 18 finished top of the table, while just six who finished second went on to win.

One of those 18 was the 2016 Hurricanes, a side Jane remembers well, but his players not so much.

"I did try to bring up 2016 and half the guys didn't even know who I am," laughed the former All Blacks winger.

As the only Hurricanes side to claim the title, it might pay to remind them.