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8:27 - Testing
Blues 35 Crusaders 24
PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY! 35-24. The Crusaders' forwards are pinged for going off their feet at a ruck and Hickey succeeds with an easy place-kick. That's the final act of this match and seals the home side's win. The Blues have launched a superb fightback and are deserved winners. Despite their slow start, they didn't panic and also deserve credit for their brilliant defence during the game's latter stages. The Crusaders will have to go back to the drawing board as they are still winless after two matches.
Mealamu does brilliantly at a breakdown and when Wyatt Crockett holds on too long the Blues are awarded the penalty. Hickey puts it into touch 15 metres into the Crusaders' half.
Weepu launches a bomb, close to the halfway mark, which Rob Thompson drops in mid-air. Scrum to the Blues.
CONVERSION, CRUSADERS, TAYLOR! 32-24. Taylor succeeds with the conversion but time is running out for the visitors.
TRY, CRUSADERS, CROTTY! 32-22. Taylor offloads to Israel Dagg, who passes to Ryan Crotty who forces his way over the line despite the attentions of two defenders!
Willison relieves the pressure for the Blues with a 35-metre kick which rolls into touch five metres inside the Crusaders' half.
YELLOW CARD, BLUES, LUATUA! Luatua gets his marching orders after breaking away early from a scrum.
Tevita Li intercepts a pass from Willie Heinz, on the Blues' try-line and races the full length of the field before touching down! The referee checks with his TMO, who rules that Li was offside when he gathered the pass.
The Crusaders attack out wide and Read makes a dash for the line. He takes a big hit from Donnelly which puts him into touch. The referee calls them back, however, as some of the Blues were offside.
Weepu is penalised for holding onto the ball after being tackled. Taylor kicks for touch and puts the ball out 10 metres from the Blues' try-line.
The Crusaders launch a drive, from a line-out, deep inside the Blues' 22. They make some headway but Mealamu manages to hold them up in the drive. When the maul becomes static, it's the Blues who get the put-in at the scrum.
Taylor puts the ball into touch, five metres from the Blues' 22, after Donnelly plays the ball with his hands at a ruck.
PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY! 32-17. Hickey lands another three-pointer, after several Crusaders are pinged for lying on the ball at a ruck.
The Crusaders are pinned inside their 22 but bizzarly they try to run themselves out of trouble. They make little headway and eventually sanity prevails when Taylor kicks the ball out on his 22-metre line.
The Blues have brought on experienced front-rowers in Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu. They replace James Parsons and Sam Prattley.
CONVERSION, BLUES, HICKEY! 29-17. Hickey slots the conversion and the hosts are in control of this game now!
TRY, BLUES, WILLISON! 27-17. From the scrum Peter Saili offloads to Weepu, who stabs a grubber kick through, and Willison dives onto the ball behind the Crusaders' try-line!
Willison is in the clear down the touchline, inside the Crusaders' half! He kicks ahead and Ellis gathers, in front of his try-line but carries over before dotting down.
CONVERSION, BLUES, HICKEY! 22-17. Hickey makes no mistake from the kicking tee to extend his side''s lead!
TRY, BLUES, MOALA! 20-17. George Moala gathers a bouncing ball, after two defenders fail to deal with it inside the Crusaders'' 22. Moala outsprints the cover defence before dotting down!
Taylor gets the second half underway, with a low, hanging kick which Steven Luatua gathers, He sets up a ruck 10 metres outside his 22. The big news after the break is that Richie McCaw has been replaced by Matt Todd for the Crusaders.
Blues 15 Crusaders 17
Piutau gathers a kick from Ellis just inside his half and tries to attack. He spots a gap and launches a kick ahead but his effort goes directly into touch. That's the final act of the half as the siren sounds to indicate half-time. And what half it's been! Both sides have show a willingness to run the ball and were rewarded for their efforts. The Crusaders held the upperhand in the early exchanges but the Blues have fought back well. It's still anybody's game and if the second half can be as entertaining as the first, it should a game which goes down to the wire.
Tom Donnelly gathers a pass from Weepu deep inside his half and boots the ball upfield. Slade gathers midway between his 22 and the halfway mark but makes little headway as Donnelly nails him with a crunching tackle!
TRY, BLUES, LI! 15-17. From the restart, Patrick Tuipulotu gathers and passes to Tevita Li on the halfway mark. The young wing sets off on a devastating run and shrugs off three challenges before scoring in the left-hand corner! What a try!
CONVERSION, BLUES, HICKEY! 10-17. Hickey adds the extras to narrow the gap to seven points!
TRY, BLUES, HALAI! 8-17. Frank Halai gets the ball in space down the touchline and beats three defenders before cutting inside to score under the posts!
CONVERSION, CRUSADERS, TAYLOR! 3-17. Taylor adds another two-pointer to put more daylight between his side and their hosts!
TRY, CRUSADERS, SLADE! 3-15. The Crusaders attack from a scrum, close to the Blues' try-line. Read gathers and offloads to Ellis. He passes to Slade, who glides through the hosts' defence and scores under the posts!
Ellis has a dart, from the back of a scrum inside the Blues' 22! He is driven over the line by his forwards but Piri Weepu does well to hold up his counterpart.
The Crusaders show great continuity as they take the ball through several phases. They are soon inside the Blues' 22 but are met by a wall of defenders.
Taylor gets another shot at goal,after Braid infringes at a ruck. His effort is from about 45 metres out but, although it has the distance, he drags it to the left of the uprights.
PENALTY, CRUSADERS, TAYLOR! 3-10. Taylor restores the Crusaders' seven-point lead, after Luke Braid is penalised for obstruction from the restart.
PENALTY, BLUES, HICKEY! 3-7. Simon Hickey opens the Blues' account after Sam Whitelock is pinged for a ruck infringement.
CONVERSION, CRUSADERS, TAYLOR! 0-7. Taylor adds the extras, from up against the touchline, to extend the visitors' lead!
TRY, CRUSADERS, FLYNN! 0-5. The Crusaders launch a counter-attack, from their 10-metre line and Slade, George Whitelock and Read combine to put Corey Flynn into space down the touchline. The big hooker gets the ball on the Blues'' 10-metre line and pins his ears back before scoring in the corner!
Taylor spots a gap behind the Blues' defence and puts the ball into touch deep inside their 22.
Taylor gets a shot at goal, after Piutau plays the ball on the ground at a ruck. The Crusader's pivot's effort is on target but falls a couple of yards short of the cross-bar.
Charlie Faumuina is penalised for illegal binding. Tom Taylor puts the penalty kick into touch five metres inside the Crusaders' half.
Charles Piutau launches an up-and-under which Colin slade gathers, just outside his 22. He tries to launch an attack but goes down under a heavy challenge from Jackson Willison.
Andy Ellis takes a tap penalty close to the halfway line. He passes to Kieran Read, who offloads to Rob Thompson, who fails to hold onto the ball which goes into touch!
Simon Hickey gets us underway! His kick is gathered by Dominic Bird who sets up a ruck five metres outside his 22.
Luke Braid has passed a late fitness test and leads the Blues out in his 50th match for the franchise.
All Blacks full-back Israel Dagg has been dropped from the Crusaders' starting XV. Dagg's omission is one of four changes to the side that lost last weekend's opener to the Chiefs in Christchurch. He is replaced by Colin Slade, who has recovered from a calf injury. Kieran Read returns for his first start of the season to play at number eight and captain the side. He takes over from Luke Whitelock, who drops out of the matchday squad. Rob Thompson will be the 175th player to make his Crusaders debut when he replaces Johnny McNicholl on the wing. Nafi Tuitavake will make just his second start on the other wing. And in the final change, Tom Taylor, comes into the run-on side at fly-half at the expense of Tyler Bleyendaal, who missed five penalty attempts last weekend.
Promising young Blues fly-half Simon Hickey makes his Super Rugby debut in this clash. He replaces Chris Noakes, who drops out of the matchday 23 after last weekend''s loss to the Highlanders. 20-year-old Hickey is joined by a number of youngsters in the starting XV, with U20 team-mate Patrick Tuipulotu and 18-year-old wing Tevita Li promoted from the bench to start against the Crusaders. However the Blues have been bolstered by plenty of experience as veteran All Black centurions Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock are named on the bench. Sam Prattley replaces Ofa Tu''ungafasi at loosehead prop, while captain Luke Braid who suffered an ankle injury against the Highlanders is bracketed with Brendon O''Connor. A decision on Braid''s fitness will be made later in the week. With Francis Saili ruled out of action with a foot injury, George Moala shifts into centre as Tevita Li makes his run-on debut on the left wing. Benji Marshall continues his role on the bench where he is joined by Pita Ahki who is poised to make his Super Rugby debut after overcoming a foot injury.
Hello and welcome to Eden Park in Auckland for our live coverage of this New Zealand Super Rugby derby between the Blues and the Crusaders. Don't go away! We'll be back shortly with team news.
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