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
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00