Planet Rugby

Epic win for unbeaten Highlanders

10th March 2012 03:33

Share:

Aaron Smith scoring for the Highlanders near posts

First try-scorer: Aaron Smith

The Highlanders made it three wins out of three in Super Rugby after scrapping to a hard-fought 18-17 success over the 'Tahs in Dunedin.

In what was a titanic struggle between two sides looking to top their respective conference, the home outfit ultimately sneaked the four points.

Tries were scored by scrum-half Aaron Smith and openside flanker John Hardie, with Colin Slade kicking eight points after Lima Sopoaga left the under-the-roof action following a shoulder injury he sustained in the build-up to Smith's try.

The Highlanders now sit atop of matters in New Zealand and fully deserved their victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium after showing an inventive style that seemed down to a pre-conceived mindset.

Despite being 0-6 down with sixteen minutes played, the hosts turned down kickable penalties and instead set about going for the jugular, with Sopoaga taking it up from a quick tap and then finding his scoring half-back partner in support.

It was a sign of things to come from the home side as they went at the 'Tahs full throttle, with Adam Thomson heavily involved alongside fellow flank Hardie as they turned the screw. Their dominance was unrewarded though as they went into the sheds 8-9 down following three Daniel Halangahu penalties.

Upon the turnaround came a nightmare moment for Slade as the Waratahs came out on the attack and Pat McCutcheon charged down the full-back's clearing kick to score close to the uprights. Halangahu missed the extras in what turned out to be a key moment in the game.

But if the simple kicks were going astray, the difficult efforts were not and the Highlanders hit the front when Slade converted Hardie's try in the corner after a nice assist from Kade Poki.

In a see-sawing period of scoring, Halangahu immediately regained the advantage for the Waratahs with his fourth penalty from out wide, only for Slade's second penalty ten minutes later to put the hosts back in front 18-17 before a nervy finish saw the Highlanders hold on.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Smith, Hardie
Con: Slade
Pen: Slade 2

For Waratahs:
Try: McCutcheon
Pen: Halangahu 4

Highlanders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Croswell, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 James Haskell, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Kurt Baker, 23 Buxton Popoali'i.

Waratahs: 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Daniel Halangahu (c), 9 Sarel Pretorius; 8 Tevita Metuisela, 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Tom Carter, 22 Brackin Karuaria-Henry.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale13:00
Castres vs Leinster15:15
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615