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 Blues came out fired up in the second half, scoring a try to Francis Saili right after the break to which the Highlanders replied straight away with a classic winger try from Patrick Osborne to bring up the bonus point. After a bit and back and forth the Blues attack kicked into gear and they scored two tries, one to Taavao and one to Tuipoluto, to narrow the deficit to 8 points setting up a very nervous last 10 minutes. The Highlanders defence held strong to bring up our first win in our first game of the season and to retain the hallowed Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy.

The Highlanders now travel to Hamilton to play the Chiefs who won 18-10 over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.

HALF TIME Highlanders:24 - Blues:0

FULL TIME Highlanders:29 - Blues:21

Points scored by:

Highlanders - (Aaron Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith, Patrick Osborne tries; Lima Sopoaga 3 con, pen)
Blues - (Francis Saili, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu tries; Chris Noakes 3 con)

Match Officials

Referee: Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2:Kane McBride
TMO:Vinny Munro

Highlanders

1 - Kane Hames
2 - Liam Coltman
3 - Chris King
4 - Brad Thorn
5 - Jarrad Hoeata
6 - Gareth Evans
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (co-captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 - Patrick Osborne
12 - Shaun Treeby
13 - Malakai Fekitoa
14 - Richard Buckman
15 - Ben Smith (co-captain)

Reserves
16 - Ged Robinson
17 - Matias Diaz
18 - Craig Millar
19 - Josh Bekhuis
20 - TJ Ioane
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 - Hayden Parker
23 - Phil Burleigh

Blues

1 - Ofa Tu'ungafasi
2 - James Parsons
3 - Charlie Faumuina
4 - Liaki Moli
5 - Tom Donnelly
6 - Steven Luatua
7 - Luke Braid (Captain)
8 - Peter Saili
9 - Piri Weepu
10 - Chris Noakes
11 - George Moala
12 - Francis Saili
13 - Jackson Willison
14 - Frank Halai
15 - Charles Piutau

Reserves
16 - Tom McCartney
17 - Sam Prattley
18 - Angus Ta’avao
19 - Patrick Tuipulotu
20 - Brendon O’Connor
21 - Bryn Hall
22 - Benji Marshall
23 - Tevita Li

SupeRugby logo header speights min 2 Degrees logo v2 University of Otago logo Swanndri placemakers new logo banner 104 Adidas Logo Small min