Round 16 - Highlanders v Chiefs, 30 May, Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
- May 31, 2015
The stage is set for a massive game with Invercargill turing out in the thousands to support the Highlanders at Rugby Park Stadium for this high-stakes clash. As the fog rolled in the Highlanders opened the scoring with two penalty goals in the first 10 minutes through the trusty boot of Lima Sopoaga. Difficult handling conditions hampered the period of play to follow with both teams unable to hold on to the ball while on attack. The Chiefs finally getting on the board on the 20th minute mark with a penalty of their own to Southland native, Damien McKenzie. Patrick Osborne went over for the first try 10 minutes later, the big man proving too hard to stop from only 10 metres out, Sopoaga unable to convert from out wide. The Chiefs then came oh-so-close before halftime with a try that was ruled out by the TMO as a knock-on on review and the Highlandes held an 11-3 lead as the whistle blew for half-time.
The second half saw the game open up and the Highlanders employed the game plan proving successful in the damp conditions, the Highlanders kept the opposition pinned in their own half domniating territory and minimising the opportunities for the Chiefs' dangerous outside backs. The Highlanders capitalised on time spent inside the Chief's half with Naholo opening the scoring in the second half with a magic 5-pointer after cutting the the defense open from halfway and scoring his 9th try of the season. The Chiefs replied with two penalty goals to narrow the deficit to 9-points with just over 20minutes to play. Sopoaga pushed the lead back out to 15 with two penalty goals of his own with less than 15minutes to play on the clock. The Highlander's third try soon followed and went to Buckman who dived over for his first try of the season after receiving the ball from Aaron Smith following an extended period of pick-and-go play. Not content with the extended scoreline the Highlanders pushed for that all important fourth try and bonus point, and it was Captain Ben Smith who went over after the Highlanders spread the ball across the front of the Chiefs goal line.
Thank you to all who stayed at the end to watch the presentation to Ben Smith following the achievement of his 100th Super Rugby game in Perth last weekend.
FIRST HALF: HIG:11 - CHI:3
SECOND HALF: HIG:36 - CHI:9
Tries - P.Osborne, W.Naholo, R.Buckman, B.Smith
Pen - L.Sopoaga 4
Con - L.Sopoaga 2
Pen - D.McKenzie 3