It was a tight arm-wrestle in the first 40 minutes between the Highlanders Development team and the Fiji Warriors at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight.  Lima Sopoaga slotted a penalty to get the scoring started in the second minute of the match and from there both teams traded tries firstly to Fijian openside flanker, Apisai Domolailai, and then Highlanders winger, Jayden Spence.  Highlanders first five eight Lima Sopoaga added three penalties to close out the first half and have the home side ahead 17-7.

Fiji struck back in the opening stages of the second spell with two quick tries to tie the scores 20-all with 25 minutes to play.  The Highlanders were equal to the challenge with Lima Sopoaga slotting two penalties to stay in touch with the visitors and set up a thrilling last 20 minutes.  Fijian second five, Nemani Nadolo, picked up his second try and fullback Aisea Natogo crossed to give the visitors a handy 11 point lead with only 12 minutes on the stadium clock.  Highlanders’ captain, Charlie O’Connell crashed over with less than 10 minutes remaining, bringing the home crowd to their feet.  Sopoaga added the conversion to make it a 4 point ball game with 8 minutes remaining.  A penalty in the closing minutes to Fiji gave the visitors a chance of victory, however Lima Sopoaga crashed over and then converted his own try to give the Highlanders a drawn result with the Warriors of Fiji.

Match summary:
Highlanders 37 (Jayden Spence try, Charlie O’Connell 1 try, Lima Sopoaga 1 try, 6 penalties, 2 con) drew with the Fiji Warriors 37 (Nemani Nadolo 2 tries, Aisea Natoga 1 try, Apisai Domolailai 1 try, Ratunaisa Vaturanka 4 con 3 pen)

HT: 17-7 (Highlanders)
FT: 37-37

Crowd: 700
Referee: Kane McBride

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