Ex-All Blacks U20 star drowns Crusaders with massive 27-point haul as Highlanders finally beat another New Zealand side

Dylan Coetzee
Highlanders star Cameron Millar on the charge.

Highlanders star Cameron Millar on the charge.

Former New Zealand U20 star Cameron Millar kicked the Crusaders to their ninth loss of the season as a 32-29 result handed the Highlanders their first win over a New Zealand side in three years.

Millar scored one of the two Highlanders tries with Tanielu Tele’a also crossing while the fly-half kicked a brilliant six penalties and two conversions to power his side to victory.

The Crusaders actually doubled the try total of the hosts with Sevu Reece grabbing a brace while Dallas McLeod and Macca Springer also scored. Wing Chay Fihaki kicked three conversions and a penalty.

Click here for teams and scorers

It was an ideal start for the hosts who kicked a penalty in just the fourth minute before Tele’a pounced on a loose ball moments later to score a converted try.

The Crusaders were not going to lie down as Reece scored his first with a successful conversion from Fihaki on the 10-minute mark. In what would be a theme throughout Millar added another penalty before the Crusaders scored through McLeod this time as the extras were added again.

Millar softened the blow with a try of his own after 22 minutes which he converted before adding two more penalties before half-time, giving his team some breathing distance in the sheds.

Reece was inspired after the break and scored just six minutes in but the try went unconverted. However, Fihaki would make amends with a penalty in the 52nd minute.

There would be a break in the scoring until Millar kicked two more penalties in the last 10 minutes that also saw Springer score in the last play to hand Crusaders a consolation of a losing bonus point.

The teams

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Telea, 12 Jake Te Hiwi, 11 Martin Bogado, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Nikora Broughton, 7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Fabian Holland, 4 Mitch Dunshea, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Henry Bell, 1 Ethan de Groot (c)
Replacements: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Saula Ma’u, 19 Will Tucker, 20 Will Stodart, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Finn Hurley

Crusaders: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Chay Fihaki, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 David Havili, 9 Noah Hotham, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Corey Kellow, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (c), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tamaiti Williams
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 George Bower, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Macca Springer

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