Planet Rugby

Highlanders clinch tense first win

04th May 2013 10:25

Share:

brad thorn highlanders sharks

Number 100: Brad Thorn

An outstanding second-half performance saw the Highlanders clinch their first victory in 2013 with a 25-22 win over the Sharks.

Tries from Shaun Treeby, Aaron Smith and Colin Slade set the hosts on course for their first win in 2013 in Brad Thorn's 100th Super Rugby game.

An exhibition with plenty of spectacular tries, the Highlanders scrapped their way back from a disappointing performance in the opening 40 minutes to take control in the second half.

JP Pietersen's deliberate knock-on saw him sent to the sin-bin after just six minutes, the Highlanders opting for the scrum but unable to create the opening score.

Slade hit the post with a penalty before Treeby grabbed the game's first try - a clever move seeing Slade grubber through behind the defensive line for the centre to pounce.

Meyer Bosman hit back for the Sharks after good work from Francois Steyn to suck in defenders, the South African side's powerful pack laying the platform with an effective rolling maul.

Played with real intensity but also with plenty of handling errors, the game stuttered along in the middle of the first half until Lambie added a penalty to put the Sharks ahead, with the Highlanders warned for persistently infringing in the mauls and at the breakdown.

The Sharks then added an outstanding score - Lambie chipping over the top following a lineout with Viljoen collecting and passing inside to the flying Lwazi Mvovo.

Slade then missed his third penalty, having hit the post with his first two attempts, the Sharks leading 15-7 at the interval.

The hosts hit back immediately after the break, Aaron Smith darting over from a quick tap whilst the Sharks regrouped.

Slade's fourth penalty attempt minutes later put the Highlanders in front as the Sharks struggled to gather possession early on, under pressure once again after another sharp break from Smith around the fringes.

Having now recovered his radar, another penalty from Slade extended the Highlanders' gap to five points.

What followed was absolutely stunning - the Highlanders scoring a try of the season contender. Ben Smith's initial break was followed up with a wraparound combination with Aaron Smith, tighthead prop Chris King showing great timing and handling to release Slade for the line.

The Sharks though were not out of it - a hectic passage of play commanded by Mvovo carrying the ball back, the visitors offloading their way down the left hand side before Bosman grabbed his second for a thrilling score.

The prospect of finally picking up a win for the first time in nine attempts then placed the pressure on the Highlanders as time ticked away, who lost the influential TJ Ioane to injury.

Hearts continued to pound as the Sharks drove near the line with time running out, the Highlanders desperately clinging on in defence, the crowd erupting as Jason Emery turned the ball over.

There was no end to the drama however as the Sharks won a penalty and kicked to the corner, Thorn sent to the bin as the Highlanders set to defend another lineout.

A relentless number of penalties for the Sharks kept them pinned five metres out from the Highlanders line, but the ball went loose and victory was finally secured for the hosts for the first time in nine attempts.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Treeby, Smith, Slade
Cons: Slade 2
Pens: Slade 2
Yellow Card: Thorn

For Sharks:
Tries: Bosman 2, Mvovo
Cons: Lambie 2
Pen: Lambie
Yellow Card: Pietersen

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Phil Burleigh, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Elliot Dixon, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaka Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Jason Emery.

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Wiehahn Herbst.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Piet Lindeque, 22 Odwa Ndungane / Derick Minnie.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Television match official: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26