Round 6: Highlanders v Force - Fri 1st April, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
A refreshed Force team came out firing in the first half and were first to cross the try-line through fullback Dane Haylett-Petty after capitalising on an uncharatersitic error from Highlanders winger, Patrick Osborne. Converted by Peter Grant the Force lead by 7-0 after only three minutes. During the Force attack, Highlanders prop Brendon Edmonds suffered a knee injury and was helped off the field. This try was soon followed up by another try to Ben McCalman who barrelled through the defensive line to make it 14-0 in as many minutes.
Osborne finishes a great line-break with a run down the sideline to score the Highlanders first try, Hayden Parker converts and the Highlanders are now on the board on the 16minute mark. Osborne makes another great line-break and Dan Pryor finishes off some great Aaron Smith passing work to go over for another five-pointer. Parker converts the try and the scores are all tied up with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half.
The score line is level as the teams head into the sheds for a breather after a brutal first half.
After the break, both first-fives traded penalty goals early on to see the scores remain level at the 50 minute mark.
The Highlanders then took the lead for the first time in the game when Matt Faddes dived onto the ball after it was chipped into the in goal by a hard running Tom Franklin. Force first-five, Peter Grant narrowed the deficit with a penalty goal just before the 65th minute mark only for Parker to restore the 5 point buffer with a penalty goal of his own shortly after. The Highlanders then held onto possession for an extended period of time and were rewarded with a late try to Jason Emery after taking an offload from a tackle breaking Patrick Osborne.
The Highlanders came close to securing the bonus point before being being denied by the TMO right on the final buzzer.
Rest and recovery now for the team as the look towards playing the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next Saturday night!
HALFTIME: HIG 14 - FOR 14
FULLTIME: HIG 32 - FOR 20
Tries – P.Osborne, D.Pryor, M.Faddes, J.Emery
Pen – H.Parker 3
Con – H.Parker 2
Tries – D.Haylett-Petty, B.McCalman
Pen – P.Grant 2
Con – P.Grant 2