This is moving weekend for the Blues, upwards that is. There is a more even feel to their XV for Joburg, while the form-horse Crusaders will edge the returning Hurricanes in the capital. The Highlanders will go 2-0 after tonight.
Highlanders v Stormers: Highlanders by 8
Fresh off the bye, the Highlanders are clear favourites, but will need to be on their defensive game to shut out the Stormers, who are more capable than ever of breaching the line. The home side have promoted Tevita Nabura, so will have little trouble making yards on the flanks.
Hurricanes v Crusaders: Crusaders by 2
The Hurricanes did a job on the Crusaders in their last meeting in 2017, and the TAB cannot separate them for this one. The onus, as ever, goes on the Hurricanes pack, where Ben May plays his 100th game of Super Rugby. Beauden Barrett also runs out for his Hurricanes’ ton and will look to boss Mitch Hint in the battle of the 10s.
Lions v Blues: Blues by 3
They are missing their captain, are clear underdogs and are 0-2, but something tells me the Blues might just get up. The return of Sonny Bill Williams and Jerome Kaino to the starting XV adds more starch to the defence, while it will be fascinating to see how Rieko Ioane goes at centre.
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes makes a break against the Crusaders.
Welcome to 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of tonight's Mitre 10 Cup match between Taranaki and Auckland at Yarrows Stadium in New Plymouth.
51 mins: TARANAKI 20 AUCKLAND 19
TRY! After a number of attacking charges from the Taranaki forwards at Auckland's goal-line - Tom Florence goes in low and powers his way over to score a crucial try for the home team.
The conversion from Beaudein Waaka is online from out wide as he curves the ball from left to right over the crossbar.
40 mins: TARANAKI 13 AUCKLAND 19
And we are back underway with Taranaki kicking off deep towards Auckland.
HALFTIME - TARANAKI 13 AUCKLAND 19
38 mins: TARANAKI 13 AUCKLAND 19
TRY! After being denied a try earlier Jonathan Ruru can thank his teammate Akira Ioane for the assist. Ioane darts down the right edge before making the perfect pass for Ruru to score down the right edge. Auckland hit the front.
Harry Plummer lands his kick from out wide, bringing the ball around from right to left and through the uprights.
37 mins: TARANAKI 13 AUCKLAND 12
THREE! Beaudein Waaka edges Taranaki in front after landing a penalty kick from about 25m out on the angle.
31 mins: TARANAKI 10 AUCKLAND 12
TRY! Harry Plummer sees acres of space behind the Taranaki defenders and he stabs in a grubber kick which sits up perfectly for Tumua Manu who dots down for Auckland's second try of the match.
Harry Plummer lands his kick from out wide, curving the ball from left to right over the goal posts.
22 mins: TARANAKI 10 AUCKLAND 5
TRY! Stephen Perofeta spots a hole in Auckland's defence and charges into it, he gets tackled inside Auckland's 22. Seta Tamanivalu spots some space down the blindside and goes himself. He bumps off the Auckland tackler Jordan Trainor with ease and dives over to score down the right edge.
The conversion from the sideline by Beaudein Waaka is successful.
15 mins: TARANAKI 3 AUCKLAND 5
MISS! Taranaki's Beaudein Waaka misses his penalty kick at goal from over 25m out after Auckland were penalised for an offside play.
11 mins: TARANAKI 3 AUCKLAND 5
THREE! Taranaki are on the score-board after Beaudein Waaka's kick at goal goes soaring through the uprights.
8 mins: TARANAKI 0 AUCKLAND 5
MISS! Beaudein Waaka's penalty kick at goal for Taranaki from over 40m out is off target.
5 mins: TARANAKI 0 AUCKLAND 5
SCRUM! Taranaki are doing good on attack as they rumble into Auckland's half, but they lose the ball forward just outside Auckland's 22. Stephen Perofeta threw a little inside pass to his flanker Tom Florence who couldn't hold onto the pill.
TARANAKI 0 AUCKLAND 5
TRY! It only takes 29 seconds and Akira Ioane has scored the first five-pointer, dotting over down the left hand corner.Troubling signs for Taranaki.
Harry Plummer misses his conversion attempt from the sideline.
KICK-OFF! And we are underway! Taranaki fumble the ball on their own 22m line.
Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of today's Mitre 10 Cup clash between Hawke's Bay and North Harbour at McLean Park in Napier.
FULLTIME - HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 51
79 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 51
TRY! Pasqualle Dunn goes in over to score for Harbour as they secure the W in Napier. James Parsons steps up to take the conversion in his 100th NPC match and he nails it with his attempt grazing the left upright before going over the posts.
72 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 44
TRY! Bryn Gatland steps off his right foot and charges over to score a crucial try for Harbour. Magpies are running out of time with only five minutes remaining in this NPC clash.
Gatland converts his own try.
69 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 37
THREE! Bryn Gatland fires a penalty kick from over 30m out and Harbour lead with 10 minutes left in the match.
61 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 34
TRY! Harbour hit back! This time Bryn Gatland finds his mark. He throws a skip pass wide to left winger Tevita Li who dives over to score down the left flank.
Bryn Gatland is off target with his kick from the sideline.
58 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 29
TRY! JJ Taulagi makes a break around haflway and finds a support runner in Brad Weber with the fullback throwing an inside pass to Weber. The halfback sprints away to score under the goal posts. Taulagi has been everywhere in this match.
JJ Taulagi bangs over his conversion with ease.
54 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 27 HARBOUR 29
TRY! Shaun Stevenson runs an excellent line and steps his way over to score to level up the scores.
Harbour hit the front after a successful kick by Bryn Gatland.
53 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 27 HARBOUR 22
NO TRY! Harbour butcher an easy walk over try with Bryn Gatland throwing a poor pass to Tevita Li who had no defender in front of him. Gatland's pass goes flying over the touch-line.
48 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 27 HARBOUR 22
TRY! Hawke's Bay hit back! Lincoln McClutchie holds up the ball and delivers a perfect pop pass to a charging JJ Taulagi who steps his way over to score under the posts.
JJ Taulagi converts his own try from in front of the sticks.
44 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 20 HARBOUR 22
TRY! North Harbour set up a great driving maul from a line-out 5m out of Magpies' own goal line and they rumble over to score. James Parsons' is the one who comes up with the ball and he has his second try of the match in his 100th NPC match.
Bryn Gatland is online with his conversion attempt from out wide.
42 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 20 HARBOUR 15
THREE! JJ Taulagi is on target with his penalty kick at goal to extend Hawke's Bay lead.
40 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 17 HARBOUR 15
And we are back underway with Lincoln McClutchie kicking off deep towards North Harbour.
HALFTIME - HAWKE'S BAY 17 HARBOUR 15
40 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 17 HARBOUR 15
TRY! Shaun Stevenson spots acres of space in behind the Magpies and puts in a smart grubber kick for Matt Duffie to run onto. He gets to the ball first and delivers a killer blow to the home side just before the break. He dots down for his side's second try of the match.
Bryn Gatland's shot at goal hits the left uprights and his side trail by two-points at halftime.
32 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 17 HARBOUR 10
TRY! Hawke's Bay fire back! The Magpies have numbers out to the right and they give the ball to their speedster Jonah Lowe who gets on the outside of his defender before throwing a dummy. The North Harbour defenders fall for the dummy and Lowe brings the ball around and scores close to the uprights.
JJ Taulagi slots the coversion with ease, he is 3/3 with the boot today.
29 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 10 HARBOUR 10
TRY! Harbour spin the ball wide down the right edge with Matt Duffie breaking through the defensive line, he throws an inside pass to his halfback Bryn Hall who then fires a perfect ball to Sione Teu.
Teu shows some great pace for a flanker and is tackled 5m out from Magpies' goal line. James Parsons is the first Harbour player to arrive at the breakdown and he goes himself. He scores Harbour's first try in his 100th NPC match.
Bryn Gatland adds the extras.
26 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 10 HARBOUR 3
NO TRY! Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a is denied a try after the referee ruled Sione Teu of holding back Magpies flanker Marino Mikaele-Tu'u as Moala-Liava'a crossed the try-line.
14 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 10 HARBOUR 3
NO TRY! Shaun Stevenson gets on the outside of his opposite Jonah Lowe, he attempts an offload for Harbour winger Tevita Li but he can't control it and fumbles the ball 5m away from the try-line. A great last ditch tackle by Lowe which forced Stevenson to throw the pass.
12 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 10 HARBOUR 3
THREE! North Harbour are on the score-board after Bryn Gatland lands a monster 40m penalty kick.
6 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 10 HARBOUR 0
TRY! Magpies hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes rumbles over from close range to score the first-five pointer of the match. It all started inside their own 22 when centre Stacey Ili made a break and put in a clever kick to get his side inside Harbour's 22.
The conversion is online by JJ Taulagi.
3 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 3 HARBOUR 0
THREE! JJ Taulagi lands a penalty kick at goal from 41 metres out.
HAWKE'S BAY 0 HARBOUR 0
KICK-OFF! Bryn Gatland gets things underway! He kicks off deep to Hawke's Bay.
Hawke's Bay: JJ Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Stacey Ili, Pasqualle Dunn, Mason Emerson, Lincoln McClutchie, Brad Weber (co-captain), Gareth Evans (co-captain), Josh Kaifa, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Michael Allardice, Tom Parsons, Ben May, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Mark Braidwood.
Reserves: Ben Power, Joe Apikatoa, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Geoff Cridge, Devan Flanders, Folau Fakatava, Sasa Tofilau, Michael Buckley.
North Harbour: Shaun Stevenson, Matt Duffie (co-captain), James Dargaville, Harrison Groundwater, Tevita Li, Bryn Gatland, Bryn Hall, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a, Dillon Hunt, Sione Teu, Danny Drake, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Mike Tamoaieta, James Parsons (co-captain), Luatangi Li.
Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Chris Eves, Sione Mafileo, Jacob Pierce, Murphy Taramai, Lewis Gjaltema, Daniel Hilton-Jones, Mark Telea.
48 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 27 HARBOUR 22
69 mins: HAWKE'S BAY 34 HARBOUR 37
The first-five put on a big right foot step before scoring in his side’s 51-34 win over Hawke’s Bay in Napier.