All you need to know ahead of the Super Rugby Transtasman final at Eden Park.
Blues v Highlanders, Saturday June 19, 7.05pm kickoff
After five weeks of battling their Aussie foes, the Blues and the Highlanders will square off for an opportunity for silverware.
More than 25,000 fans will gather at Eden Park in the hopes of seeing the Blues win a Super Rugby title for the first time in 18 years. The Highlanders last won in 2015.
This will be just the second meeting between the sides in a Super Rugby finals fixture, with the Blues defeating the Highlanders 37-31 in the 1998 semifinal.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald acknowledged the significance of the occasion.
"You can tell there's a final," MacDonald said. "You don't have to try motivate the guys to play well it's more about making sure we stay really clear on what we want to achieve and be accurate.
"There's the external pressures, noise and the prize that changes. We're clear on what's important to get right and a lot of it is around our mindset. We could be distracted on the peripheral stuff but ultimately it's the performance that counts."
MacDonald, who was on the losing Crusaders team the last time the Blues won a Super Rugby final in 2003, said his players are hungry to break the drought.
"That's a long time ago a lot of these guys were barely watching rugby or walking so to them it doesn't mean a hell of a lot. The Blues are very proud of their history but this is a new group and it's an opportunity for this group to put their names in the history book if we get it right.
"It would be fantastic to win but there's a big hurdle in front of us. It's new for us the finals; getting ahead of ourselves and talking about winning it is not helping us. We haven't done that all week, and we won't be starting now.
"There's a lot of guys who have been around this team for a long time and are desperately keen to be part of a successful Blues side. That's been the motivation; being part of the change and it's something that's spurred this team to keep grinding even when things get tough. This game means a lot to this team."
Highlanders captain Aaron Smith was also raring to go, despite the "weird" circumstances.
"It's got a bit of a weird feeling around it and finding out you're in a final after the Crusaders game," Smith said.
"Usually, with playoff rugby, you sort of have a playoff drive – quarters, semis, then if you're good enough, a final. But to kind of be in just through a result of a game was really weird.
"But it's really exciting; jumping around the kitchen on Saturday night was pretty cool and especially with my family. Then to ring Ash [Dixon] and say 'mate, we're in the dance' - it was just a really special moment. Just a little weird finding out that way, but special all the same."
The match will double as Dixon's 100th game for the team, a vital cog for the Dunedin franchise since joining in 2015.
"He's a special man to me, a special man to this club, and it's just another little layer of wanting to play for the boys," Smith said of Dixon and his achievement.
"He's a legend of our club. He came down from the Hurricanes and really changed our club in the way he prepares, the way he carries himself as a man and a leader, so that holds great significance for myself to want to put on a performance out there that can hopefully put a bit of icing on the cake for Ash. He's a southern man through and through, and he deserves a good night."
Won: Blues 20, Highlanders 17
Last match: Blues 29 Highlanders 35 on 16 April 2021
Blues: 1. Alex Hodgman 2. Kurt Eklund 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 5. Patrick Tuipulotu (c) 6. Akira Ioane 7. Dalton Papalii 8. Hoskins Sotutu 9. Finlay Christie 10. Otere Black 11. Mark Telea 12. TJ Faiane 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Bryce Heem 15. Zarn Sullivan
Reserves: 16. Ray Niuia 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe 18. Marcel Renata 19. Josh Goodhue 20. Blake Gibson 21. Jonathan Ruru 22. Harry Plummer 23. AJ Lam
Highlanders: 1. Ethan De Groot 2. Ash Dixon (cc) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Pari Pari Parkinson 5. Bryn Evans 6. Hugh Renton 7. Billy Harmon 8. Kazuki Himeno 9. Aaron Smith (cc) 10. Mitch Hunt 11. Jona Nareki 12. Scott Gregory 13. Michael Collins 14. Patelesio Tomkinson 15. Josh Ioane
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Ayden Johnstone 18. Josh Hohneck 19. Josh Dickson 20. James Lentjes 21. Kayne Hammington 22. Sam Gilbert 23. Teariki Ben-Nicholas
Referee: Mike Frasers
Assistant 1: Ben O'Keeffe
Assistant 2: Paul Williams
TMO: Brendon Pickerill
How to watch
The Herald will provide live updates from the game. You can also catch live radio commentary of the match on Gold AM and the Newstalk ZB channel on iHeartRadio.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 1, with coverage beginning at 6pm. If you want to watch the match online, you can stream the game live via Sky Sport Now.