The Western Force hoodoo continues as the men from Western Australia came out victors in hard fought battle.

The Force kicked off proceedings with the perfect start; scoring a try to Hooker Nathan Charles after 5 minutes following some good build up play. The Highlander’s replied with three penalties to Sopoaga to take the lead after a spell of dominance, the Force returned fire picking up a try against the run of play after first-five Sias Ebersohn intercepted a loose pass. It didn’t take long for the Highlanders to retake the lead with Shaun Treeby latching onto the perfect grubber from Aaron Smith for a 5 pointer. The see-sawing continued as the Force finished the first half strong, scoring a try to big No.8 Ben McCalman.

Ebersohn extended the Force's lead soon after the break with a penalty and that was followed by a charge down try to Force mid-fielder Solomoni Rasolea after an attempted clearance kick. The Highlanders fought back hard and dominated the remaining quarter. Fekitoa crashed over through the heart of the defence to score and Sopoaga converted to get the Highlanders back in the match.

The Force were reduced to 13 men for the last 8 minutes of the match after being yellow carded for a deliberate foul and a tip tackle as the Highlanders looked to score. The Force then defended with their reduced numbers and managed to hold out the Highlanders until the last minute of play when Hayden Parker crossed the line. He was unable to convert from wide for the draw.

The Highlanders play the Hurricanes at home on Friday 21st March.

HALF TIME - Highlanders:16 - Western Force:21

FULL TIME - Highlanders: 29 - Western Force:31

Points scored by:

Highlanders - Shaun Treeby, Malakai Fekitoa, Hayden Parker tries; Lima Sopoaga 1 con, 4 pen

Force - Nathan Charles, Sias Ebersohn, Ben McCalman, Junior Rosolea tries; Ebersohn 4 con, 1 pen

Match Officials

Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 2: Ben O'Keefe
TMO: Vinny Munro

Highlanders

1 - Kane Hames
2 - Liam Coltman
3 - Chris King
4 - Jarrad Hoeata
5 - JoeWheeler
6 - John Hardie
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (co-captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 - Kurt Baker
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 - Elliot Dixon
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 - Hayden Parker
23 - Phil Burleigh

Western Force

1 - Pek Cowan
2 - Nathan Charles
3 - Kieran Longbottom
4 - Sam Wykes
5 - Wilhelm Steenkamp
6 - Angus Cottrell
7 - Matt Hodgson (c)
8 - Ben McCalman
9 - Alby Mathewson
10 - Sias Ebersohn
11 - Nick Cummins
12 - Kyle Godwin
13 - Junior Rasolea
14 - Luke Morahan
15 - Jayden Hayward

Reserves
16 - Heath Tessmann
17 - Tetera Faulkner
18 - Ollie Hoskins
19 - Adam Coleman
20 - Brynard Stander
21 - Ian Prior
22 - Zack Holmes

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