The Highlanders are back in the winners circle after a scintillating game of running rugby. The first half was a typically tight contest between these two New Zealand sides, both teams not giving an inch on defence forcing a kicking contest for much of the half, with both sides trading penalties.
The Western Force hoodoo continues as the men from Western Australia came out victors in hard fought battle.
The Highlanders have gone down to the defending Super Rugby Champions in a tight game after being unable to hold out a fast finishing Chiefs in the second half.
The Highlanders emerged victorious over the Blues on Saturday night in front of a huge, noisy crowd at Forsyth Barr Stadium. The team got things off to the perfect start with Aaron Smith charging down a Chris Noakes clearance to score and Malakai Fekitoa dotting down following a huge bust from broken play 50 metres out. Ben Smith put his name on the scoreboard just out from halftime to give the Highlanders a healthy lead heading into the break. The Highlander's defence wasimpressive and they had the bulk of territory and possession in the first half.
The Highlanders went down to the Sharks in Durban tonight - 28 points to 16. The Highlanders were first to cross the chalk, with replacement Kurt Baker scoring his second try of the season, however this was not enough as the boot of Springbok Patrick Lambie proved to be the difference. Lambie kicked seven panalities and crossed for his sides only try which he duly converted to score all 28 points for the home side.
The Highlanders have some injury concerns following the game, with Shaun Treeby, Elliot Dixon and Doug Teitjens all suffering injuries during the game. The Highlanders now travel back to Dunedin to play the Hurricanes on Saturday 12 May at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The full time score is Sharks 28 Highlanders 16
Tries -P Lambie
Pen - P Lambie 7
Con - P Lambie
Cards - J Botes (31st min yellow)
Tries - K Baker
Pen - M Delany 3
Con - M Delany
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 1:Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Roussouw
1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Jannie du Plessis / Wiehahn Herbst, 4. Steven Sykes, 5. Anton Bresler, 6. Jacques Botes, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 8. Keegan Daniel (C), 9. Charl McLeod, 10. Patrick Lambie, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 12. Tim Whitehead, 13. Paul Jordaan, 14. JP Pietersen, 15. Louis Ludik
Replacements, 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst / Jannie du Plessis, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Ryan Kankowski, 21. Frederic Michalak, 22. Meyer Bosman
1 Jamie Mackintosh (C) 2 Andrew Hore 3 Chris King 4 Josh Bekhuis 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 6 Adam Thomson, 7 Doug Tietjens, 8 Nasi Manu ,9 Aaron Smith, 10 Mike Delany ,11 Hosea Gear ,12 Shaun Treeby ,13 Tamati Ellison, 14 Siale Piutau, 15 Ben Smith
Reserves 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Ma’afu Fia/Jacob Ellison, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Elliot Dixon ,20 Jimmy Cowan ,21 Chris Noake, 22 Kurt Baker