Planet Rugby

Highlanders win 93-point thriller

06th July 2013 10:21

Share:

aaron smith highlanders hurricanes

Strong game: Aaron Smith

The Highlanders moved off the foot of the Super Rugby table after recording an impressive 49-44 victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

Victory provisionally moves Jamie Joseph's outfit above the Kings into fourteenth position, with the South Africans tackling the Stormers later today.

Early tries were claimed by Mose Tuiali'i, Tamati Ellison, Aaron Smith and Kade Poki as the Highlanders held on to their 32-13 interval lead.

A further seven tries were added after the break.

Colin Slade arguably played his best game in two years as he led the Highlanders attack, setting up first-half scores for Tuiali'i and Ellison on the fourteenth and seventeenth minute. The first coincided with Hosea Gear ranging before the aforementioned number eight finished it off.

It was the start of a four-score half from the men from the south as Ellison was next to go over following Slade's chip over the top, which led to TJ Perenara misjudging the skid-back of the ball that allowed the All Black centre to ground. Slade's conversion made it 17-6 to the visitors.

The Highlanders weren't done there however as following a Slade penalty on 23 minutes, the Hurricanes' poor defence was once again noticeable. On this occasion it came from a static Highlanders maul, but when they moved it left through Elliot Dixon, Perenara was isolated and had to move in to tackle the flanker, thus freeing up his opposite number Smith to run in. Mark Hammett needed his men to respond before the break if they were to recover.

Luckily enough hooker Ash Dixon did cross for the 'Canes on the 36th minute, reaching out and grounding following TMO approval but when Poki scored a superb individual effort down the right touchline with the half's last play, Dixon's good work had been undone.

The Hurricanes weren't helping themselves and when Victor Vito gave away a soft penalty on 46 minutes to allow Slade to extend his tally, it had become a 22-point ball game. Their woes were compounded when Beauden Barrett kicked the resulting restart out on the full.

But then began a spirited comeback. The hosts would have a numerical advantage on the 53rd minute when scrum-half Smith was shown yellow for deliberately slowing down the ball at a ruck five metres out and they would capitalise. Soon after, numbers were created on the right where Barrett found Ben Franks for the try to make it 35-20 with ample time left.

Amazingly the deficit would be cut to just eight points six minutes later when replacement Brad Shields slipped a lovely ball to Julian Savea out on the left and the wing would race over. Suddenly a game that looked to be headed only one way was now anyone's.

The end-to-end nature of the contest continued as further outstanding scores were added by Gear, Dixon, Chris Smylie and James Broadhurst, with a total of 93 points racked up. But the 'Canes couldn't add the seven more to make it 100, which would have won the game.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: A Dixon, Franks, Savea, Smylie, Broadhurst
Con: Barrett 5
Pen: Barrett 3

For Highlanders:
Tries: Tuiali'i, Ellison, A Smith, Poki, Gear, E Dixon
Con: Slade 3, Parker 2
Pen: Slade 3
Yellow: A Smith (53 mins - professional foul)

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Reggie Goodes, 17 John Schwalger, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Matt Proctor.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Shaun Treeby, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i , 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (c), 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Buxton Popoalii.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
Thursday , May 1
Zebre vs Ospreys17:00
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs HarlequinsNorthampton vs Harlequins Preview
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs RedsHurricanes vs Reds Preview
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs StormersCheetahs vs Stormers Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058