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 Highlanders got on the board through the boot of Lima Sopoaga, while the visitors responded with their own penalty moments later courtesy of Beauden Barrett. The Highlanders regained the lead thanks to two more Sopoaga penalties before the Hurricanes came back with another Barrett penalty to stay in touch.

Sopoaga kicked another penalty leading into the half time break and the Highlanders went into the break with a comfortable lead of 18 points to 9.

After an early second half penalty to the Hurricanes, the Highlanders started to find gaps in the visitors defence. Ben Smith sparked an attack up the middle of the field, linking with Aaron Smith before he offloaded the ball to Phil Burleigh who juggled it before running in for the game's first try.

Patrick Osborne added his name to the score sheet when he intercepted the ball while the Hurricanes were hot on attack to turn the run of play around and go in for a try, Sopoaga converted to give the Highlanders a 35-12 lead. The Hurricanes then fought back and closed the gap with a Ben Franks try, before Beauden Barrett added a try of his own to close the gap up to 35-26 with less than 10 minutes to go. Players from both teams were out on their feet by this stage.A late try to Barrett gave the Hurricanes a sniff of victory with scores close at 35-31, however they ran out of time as the Highlanders defence held strong to keep the visitors out for the win.

FULL TIME - Highlanders:35 - Hurricanes:31

Match Officials

Referee: Nick Briant

Assistant Referee 1: Kane McBride

Assistant Referee 2: Brendon Pickerill

TMO: Chris Wratt


1 - Kane Hames
2 - Liam Coltman
3 - Ma'afu Fia
4 - Brad Thorn
5 - Joe Wheeler
6 - Elliot Dixon
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (co-captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 - Patrick Osborne
12 - Phil Burleigh
13 - Malakai Fekitoa
14 - Richard Buckman
15 - Ben Smith (co-captain)

16 - Ged Robinson
17 - Matias Diaz
18 - Chris King
19 - Jarrad Hoeata
20 - TJ Ioane
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 - Hayden Parker
23 - Shaun Treeby

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph

Assistant Coaches: Scott McLeod & Tony Brown

Team Manager: Graham Purvis


1 - Ben Franks
2 - Dane Coles
3 - Jefferey Toomaga-Allen
4 - Mark Reddish
5 - James Broadhurst
6 - Jack LAm
7 - Ardie Savea
8 - Faifili Levave
9 - Chris Cmylie
10 - Beauden Barrett
11 - Julian Savea
12 - Hadleigh Parkes
13 - Conrad Smith (captain)
14 - Alapatu Leiua
15 - Marty Banks

16 - Ash Dixon
17 - Chris Eves
18 - John Schwalger
19 - Mark Abbott
20 - Blade Thomson
21 - TJ Perenara
22 - Matt Pro
23 – Andre Taylor

Head Coach: Mark Hammett

Assistant Coach:

Team Manager: Tony Ward

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