Due to ticket demand, the Highlanders have opened the Mitre 10 Mega Stand for tomorrow’s final Super Rugby home fixture versus the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The stand was not planned to be opened for this match (due to University holidays), however with ticket sales exceeding expectation the stand has now be opened for public sale.  

Tickets sales have reached 17,000 and the additional seats brings the capacity to 22,600.

Tickets are the regular price of $15 (same price for both adults and children).  The stand will still be GA (general admission – not allocated seats).

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to play the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow night. The Highlanders resume competition play after the June test window, and with Highlander Hosea Gear
playing his 100th Investec Super Rugby game, a large crowd is expected in Dunedin.

Hosea made his debut for the Highlanders in 2012 and has had a remarkable run.  He played all 16 games in 2012 and has not missed a game this season, bringing his total games for the Highlanders to 29 caps.  Hosea made his debut for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in 2004.  With 36 tries in Super Rugby and 42 tries at provincial level, he has proven himself as one of the best finishers in the game.

Highlanders’ Head Coach Jamie Joseph has seen the development of Hosea into a world-class player and professional athlete.

“I have seen Hosea develop into one of the best players in the world in his position. He is one of the hardest workers both on and off the field.  He always brings a professional approach to the Highlanders team environment and is highly respected by all the guys.  Our team would like to congratulate him for reaching this remarkable milestone”.

Highlanders' General Manager Roger Clark also congratulated Hosea on reaching 100 games in Super Rugby.

"Hosea is a remarkable player and a strong leader within our team.  He has always done his talking on the field and led by example and this season has been one of his best.  On behalf of the Highlanders I would like to congratulate Hosea on reaching 100 Super games tomorrow night".

Tomorrow night’s game is the 23rd between the southern neighbours with the Crusaders having the on-field advantage with 15 wins to the Highlanders 8.  Jamie Joseph has made three changes to the starting XV that dispatched the Blues on 1 June.  Tony Woodcock starts at loose-head prop, Elliot Dixon replaces the injured John Hardie at openside flanker and Kade Poki comes back into the run-on XV after a long absence with a rib injury.  On the bench, Lima Sopoaga makes his return from an ankle injury.

Ticket sales have been strong all week with 16,800 tickets sold to date.  Forsyth Barr Stadium capacity is 22,600.

Highlanders v Crusaders, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Saturday 29 June, 7.35pm.
1. Tony Woodcock (122)
2. Andrew Hore – captain (138)
3. Ma’afu Fia (21)
4. Brad Thorn (104)
5. Josh Bekhuis (68)
6. Jarrad Hoeata (44)
7. Elliot Dixon (13)
8. Mose Tuiali’i (74)
9. Fumiaki Tanaka (11)
10. Colin Slade (44)
11. Hosea Gear - vice-captain (99)
12. Shaun Treeby (23)
13. Tamati Ellison (74)
14. Kade Poki (39)
15. Ben Smith (69)
16. Liam Coltman (10)
17. Bronson Murray (42)
18. Jake Paringatai (7)
19. TJ Ioane (10)
20. Aaron Smith (41)
21. Lima Sopoaga (15)
22. Ma’a Nonu (132)

The Highlanders put on one of the performances of the season to defeat the Blues 38-28 before a crowd of 12,888 at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin last night. Scoring four tries in the first half to claim a bonus point, while also claiming the much cherished ‘Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy’.
The home side started strongly, with the ever reliable fullback, Ben Smith getting amongst the forwards early to dive over from a ruck, scoring the first try of the game following constant pressure. Colin Slade added the conversion from out wide to give the Highlanders a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes.
Blues halfback, Piri Weepu copped an unfortunate knee to the head in the 14th minute, leaving him unconscious for a few moments before being attended by medical staff and eventually removed from the field on a stretcher.
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan stated after the match that Weepu was okay, "He was knocked out and obviously the doctor was concerned about his neck. But he's walking around and talking. He can't remember much but he's in pretty good shape considering."
While Weepu was being attended, play continued, with his opposite Fumiaki Tanaka going close for a try before the Blues were penalised for not releasing him in the tackle. Colin Slade kicked the goal to make it 10-0 to the Highlanders.
Tamati Ellison added another five points to the Highlanders tally when he went through for a try, rolling his way out of a Rene Ranger tackle to dot the ball down. Slade again added the extras from out wide to push the Southerners out to a 17-0 lead with 23 minutes gone.
Ben Smith helped himself to a double, scoring his second try for the night after a solid build up from the Highlanders. Slade missed with the conversion, however the Highlanders were building a handy lead, 22-0 with 28 minutes complete.
The Highlanders grabbed a bonus point minutes later when Hosea Gear left the Blues in his wake, running it in for their fourth try of the night, finished off with a nice little dive. Slade regained his kicking form to add the extras, giving the Highlanders a healthy 29-0 lead.
The Blues were rewarded with a late first half try, thanks to a chip and chase effort from wing Waisake Naholo. Baden Kerr kicked the conversion for the visitors to give them something to smile about heading into the break. Highlanders 29-7 at halftime.
Colin Slade kicked a couple of penalties early in the second half to extended the lead to 35-7 before the Blues mounted a comeback. Rene Ranger and flanker Steven Luatua both picking up tries for the visitors, with Kerr adding the extras to bring them back into the match 35-21.
However, this was to be the Highlanders night, with the Blues causing too many errors and giving away costly penalties. Hayden Parker, who took the field for Colin Slade late in the game, kicked a penalty to give the home side a 38-21 lead with just over five minutes left to play.
After constant pressure in the final moments, the Highlanders went close to adding another try, although handling errors gave the Blues a chance with the ball which they made the most of. Jamie Mackintosh received a late yellow card, followed by a big applause by the Highlanders faithful in the stands.
Charles Piutau made a good break after the fulltime hooter, before Luke Braid grabbed a consolation try which also gave them a bonus point for their efforts. Baden Kerr kicked the goal to bring the scores to 38-28. The Highlanders now take a break from competition due to the June Internationals between the All Blacks and France, with their next game scheduled for June 29 against the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to play the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow night.  The match takes on additional significance with the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy on the line.

The trophy honours one of the characters of Otago rugby who was also in the unique
position of having coached both the Highlanders and the Blues.

Otago, under Hunter’s tutelage in the early 1990s, was regarded as one of the most exciting teams in New Zealand and had talent that graced the All Blacks, including players such as Jeff Wilson, Josh Kronfeld and Taine Randell. Hunter, who also played for Otago, was coach of Otago from 1992 until 1995 and became coach of the Highlanders in the first year of Super Rugby.

He then advanced to join the New Zealand selection panel; his first year produced the first test series win by the All Blacks in South Africa. At the end of Hunter’s tenure with the All Blacks in 1999, he took over as coach of the Blues, continuing in that role until ill health forced his retirement. Throughout his coaching career Hunter combined his passion for rugby with his profession as a detective. He died in 2002

Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Saturday 1 June, 7.35pm.
1. Jamie Mackintosh
2. Andrew Hore (captain)
3. Ma’afu Fia
4. Brad Thorn
5. Josh Bekhuis
6. Jarrad Hoeata
7. John Hardie
8. Mose Tuiali’i
9. Fumiaki Tanaka
10. Colin Slade
11. Hosea Gear (vice-captain)
12. Shaun Treeby
13. Tamati Ellison
14. Trent Renata
15. Ben Smith
16. Liam Coltman
17. Bronson Murray
18. Elliot Dixon
19. TJ Ioane
20. Aaron Smith
21. Hayden Parker
22. Ma’a Nonu

Final Score Force 19 (10) Highlanders 18 (6)


Tries - S.Ebersohn
Pen - J.Hayward 4
Con - J.Hayward
Cards - A. Mathewson (yellow 61st min)

Pen - H.Parker 2, C.Slade 4

Match Officials
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 1:Ian Smith
Assistant Ref 2:Michael Hogan
TMO : George Ayoub

1. Pek Cowan,2. Heath Tessmann,3. Kieran Longbottom,4. Toby Lynn ,5. Sam Wykes,6. Matt Hodgson (c),7. Chris Alcock,8. Ben McCalman ,9. Alby Mathewson ,10. Sias Ebersohn,11. Nick Cummins,12. Kyle Godwin,13. Ben Jacobs ,14. Patrick Dellit ,15. Jayden Hayward

Replacements : 16. James Hilterbrand,17. Tetera Faulkner,18. Rory Walton,19. Richard Brown ,20. Brett Sheehan,21. Junior Rasolea,22. Sam Norton-Knight

1. Tony Woodcock ,2. Liam Coltman ,3. Ma'afu Fia ,4. Brad Thorn (captain) ,5. Josh Bekhuis ,6. TJ Ioane,7. John Hardie,8. Mose Tuiali'i,9. Aaron Smith ,10. Hayden Parker ,11. Hosea Gear (vice-captain),12. Ma'a Nonu ,13. Tamati Ellison ,14. Jason Emery ,15. Ben Smith

Replacements : 16. Andrew Hore ,17. Bronson Murray ,18. Joe Wheeler ,19. Elliot Dixon ,20. Fumiaki Tanaka ,21. Colin Slade ,22. Tino Nemani