Blues to face Highlanders as they secure first home Super Rugby final since 2003

Relive 1 NEWS' live updates of the round robin match of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, played between the Blues and Western Force at Eden Park.

FT: BLU 31-21 FOR

The Blues have done it! They've secured a home Super Rugby final for the first time in a generation. Many of the current crop were still in diapers when Carlos Spencer and the 2003 Blues defeated the Crusaders at Eden Park, but now they will have a chance of their own to create history.

They will host the Highlanders next Saturday night at Eden Park, and the result of course means that the Crusaders have been knocked out.

That's all from us, have a good evening.

80min: BLU 31-21 FOR

The Force have a final go but they've run out of time. It's over and the Blues are in the final!

78min: BLU 31-21 FOR

FOR TRY!! Kahui shows he's still got gas in the tank as he kicks the ball ahead and races against his younger opponents. Sullivan dives on the ball but Kahui wins it back. The Force get a penalty soon after and kick for touch. Off the lineout, the Force shift the ball quickly to the left and Kearney runs it over for an easy try.

69min: BLU 31-14 FOR

BLU YEL!! It was almost inevitable once the Blues secured the scrum. The forward pack nearly do it themselves under the posts, before the ball is flung along the backline, ending up in Telea's hands. He has nothing more to do than walk it over for his second try of the evening. That should do it - no wait - the TMO is checking for foul play. It's for a late clearout under the posts and Niuia is sent to the bin for making contact to the head and the try is ruled out.

68min: BLU 31-14 FOR

Sotutu grabs the ball off the back of the scrum and plays a grubber kick through a gap. The scrambling Force defence manage to get the ball in the in-goal and boot it into touch, but it hasn't manager to get back into the field of play, so it's a 5m scrum for the home side.

64min: BLU 31-14 FOR

BLU PEN!! The Blues set up a midfield maul and push into the Force's 22m. They win the advantage and then the penalty. Black points to the posts as the Blues look to simply close out this game. He slots it from right in front.

56min: BLU 28-14 FOR

FOR TRY!! Uh oh, are the wheels falling off for the Blues here? The Force find themselves deep in Blues territory and swing it to the left where the ball finds a rampaging Kurindrani, who just has too much momentum to be stopped that close to the line. The lead is halved!

48min: BLU 28-7 FOR

FOR TRY!! The Force set a strong maul from the lineout and Kaitu'u breaks off the back and crosses the chalk. Prior converts and the Force are on the board.

46min: BLU 28-0 FOR

The Force string together 13 phases of play but go absolutely nowhere on the edge of the Blues 22m. Papalii wins the turnover, but the Blues concede a penalty moments later and the Force kick for the lineout in the corner.

40min: BLU 28-0 FOR

The Force kick off for the start of the second half, and win the ball back immediately.

HT: BLU 28-0 FOR

The Blues have one foot in the final, and only a monumental collapse from here would see them miss out.

Their were early nerves, but they quickly shook them off and by the end of the half everything was flowing for the home side.

Tom Robinson is confirmed to have failed his HIA, so he will play no more part in the game. An unfortunate result for a man so critical for the Blues this season.

40min: BLU 28-0 FOR

BLU TRY!! The Blues aren't letting up. The pressure just keeps mounting on the Force inside their own 22m, and they are just unable to stop the rampaging Blues forwards. Sotutu grabs the ball from the ruck and sneaks through, stretchin for the line to get his second of the game.

34min: BLU 21-0 FOR

BLU TRY!! Ioane wins the ball from the Force lineout within the visitors 22m and the Blues look to grab their third. A few phases pass before Papalii is able to dart through a hole to dive over right near the posts. No mistake from Black.

31min: BLU 14-0 FOR

Tom Robinson is going off for an HIA and looks to be pretty disappointment. We might not see him again tonight. Akira Ioane replaces him.

28min: BLU 14-0 FOR

BLU TRY!! The Blues have their second! Some sustained pressure in the Force's 22m leads to a try to Telea in the left corner. The forwards had rumbled the ball through multiple phases before Christie decided to find his backs. The ball was swung over the top to a wide open Telea, who had enough speed to touch down in the corner before the Force defence could recover. Black converts once more.

17min: BLU 7-0 FOR

Telea brings down a high ball and beats multiple defenders with some snazzy footwork. He breaks away down the field, much to the delight of the roaring home crowd. He's brought down outside the 22m, and the Blues try to play the ball quickly, but a pass to Heem on the right wing goes forward.

15min: BLU 7-0 FOR

The Blues look to press for their second try but the Force win a penalty just in front of their own goal line thanks to some smart work from Callan in the ruck.

10min: BLU 7-0 FOR

BLU TRY!! Faiane plays a well-weighted cross field kick that bounces into the hands of Telea. The winger beats his man and darts towards the 22m before being brought down. Rieko Ioane quickly snatches the ball from the ruck before setting Sotutu through a gap with a clever offload. There's no stopping the big man and the Blues take the early lead! Black converts.

5min: BLU 0-0 FOR

Some nerves to start for both teams. The Force fling a ball straight out, before Black's up-and-under in midfield also goes straight out. No attacking sequences of note yet.

7.05pm: KICKOFF

Black kicks off and we are away!

Bryce Heem and Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens celebrate during the Blues game against the Waratahs. Source: Photosport

6.50pm: PREVIEW:

So it all comes down to this.

The Blues just have the simple task of winning this game to secure a home final - their first in Super Rugby since 2003.

If they needed any more motivation, they know by doing so they will also knock out the Crusaders, surely a tantalising prospect for the Auckland franchise that has suffered for more than a generation.

Crusaders left sweating on Blues result after missing chance to knock Highlanders off top of the table

But the Force will be no walkovers.

The Western Australian side have failed to win any of their four games so far, but were in the game against the table-topping Highlanders and the Crusaders.

Is there any more left to say? The equation is simple, but can the Blues do it?


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

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

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.