Marty Banks opened the scoring early with a penalty following two minutes of play, the Highlanders found themselves having to repel multiple waves of Reds attack and repel they did - at the 25 minute mark the home side found themselves 9-3 up courtesy of Banks' assured boot paired with Reds' ill discipline. The Highlanders finished the half hot on attack and lead 9-3 going into the break. It was a hard fought encounter but we managed to takeaway an important win to kick start our season. 

The first 10 minutes into the second half was a period of back and fourth play, with the Reds scoring the first try of the game after Jake Schatz found himself in space 5m out from the Highlanders line to give the Reds the lead. It wasn't long until the Highlanders regained the lead via another Banks penalty. It then took 20 minutes of bruising ball-in-hand play for the home side to find their first 5-pointer when Naholo was given the ball out wide with 20m to run. With 10minutes to play the Highlanders managed to close the game down by holding onto possession.
Parker and O'Conner traded penalties in the final 5minutes but it was only enough to give the Reds the bonus point for finishing within 7.

HALF TIME: HIG 9 - RED 3 

FULL TIME: HIG 20 - RED 13

Highlanders
Tries - W.Naholo
Pen - M.Banks 4, H.Parker

Reds
Tries - J.Schatz
Pen - J.O.Connor 2
Con - J.O.Connor


After a back and forth first quarter, Slade opened the scoring with a penalty only for the Highlanders to strike back soon after the resumption via an Aaron Smith try after he found space 5 metres out from a ruck. But as it always is in these games, it wasn't long before the Crusaders found their reply after Scott Barrett burrowed over the line following an extended period of pressure from the visitors. Slade pushed the Crusader's lead out further with a late penalty followed by another Crusaders try to Johnny McNicholl.

A much better second half from our men but the lack of game time told for the home side as the Crusaders put on a strong all round performance to take away the win. The Crusaders opened the half with another Slade penalty which were the only points for the first quarter as both teams tightened their defenses. With less than 20 minutes to go Malakai Fekitoa broke the drought, scoring one of his trademark tries, proving too hard to stop 15m out from the tryline after a period of pressure from the home side. Sopoaga narrowed the deficit further with a penalty as the game passed the 70 minute mark to bring it within 6 points but it was another Slade penalty that sealed the Crusaders win. Sopoaga earned the Highlanders a bonus point after the final whistle with a difficult penalty kick from the sideline keeping the team withing 7 points.

HALF TIME: HIG 7 - CRU20 

FULL TIME: HIG 20 - CRU 26 

Tries - A.Smith, M.Fekitoa
Pen - L.Sopoaga 2
Con - L.Sopoaga 2

Crusaders
Tries - S.Barrett, J.McNicholl
Pen - C.Slade 4
Con - C.Slade 2

The Highlander's have suffered a defeat at the Eden Park over the weekend where they Blues have won the second match up of the 2014 Investec Super Rugby Season. The Highlanders had a wealth of possession and territory early on but were unable to convert the possession into points.