Semi-final - Waratahs v Highlanders, 27 June, Allianz Stadium Sydney
- June 12, 2015
The Highlanders started well, putting the home side under pressure close to their line, playing for territory, and we earned a penalty to open the scoring through Lima Sopoaga. It didn't take long for the Waratahs to find their reply when winger Rob Horne crossed over after receiving a chip kick from Ben Foley, conversion unsuccessful. The Highlanders then struck back with a bit of Aaron Smith magic after he intercepted the ball off the back of a Waratahs scrum and ran 10m to score, Sopoaga unable to convert from the sideline. The Waratahs then drew level with a penalty of their own to see the scores at 8-all after 25 minutes of scintillating play. The home side then took the lead with another Foley penalty but as was the theme in this game the Highlanders returned fire straight away with Richard Buckman bursting through the defensive line to score. Sopoaga's usually sure boot unable to find the sticks to convert. Foley pegged back the deficit with his third penalty goal to finish what has been a tense and fast paced first half. The Highlanders holding a one point lead going into the break in this epic semi-final encounter in Sydney.
The Highlanders came out fired up in the second half and employed the perfect game plan against the defending Champions, out scoring the men from Sydney 5 tries to 1. Following 10 minutes of end-to-end rugby after the resumption of play, it was the Waratahs who opened the scoring with a penalty goal. Waisake Naholo regained the lead for the Highlanders with a piece of individual magic after he chipped the ball from 25 and ran around the defender to score just inside the dead-ball line. The Highlanders were then awarded a penalty try when Jacques Potgieter was awarded a yellow carded for a swinging arm as Patrick Osborne was in the act of scoring. The Waratahs then threw everything they had at the visitors in an attempt to get back into the match but the Highlanders were shutting down anything the home side could muster. Once we swung back on attack, Sopoaga slotted a drop goal to extend the lead and it was Patrick Osborne who put the icing on the cake with a try after he latched onto a perfect chip kick from Sopoaga.
What a performance from the Highlanders!
Hurricanes up next at the Cake tin for the Final!
HALFTIME: WAR:14 - HIG:15
FULLTIME: WAR:17 - HIG:35
Tries - R.Horne,
Pen - B.Foley 4
Cards -J.Potgieter (57th min yellow)
Tries - A.Smith, R.Buckman, W.Naholo, Penalty try, P.Osborne
Pen - L.Sopoaga
Con - L.Sopoaga 2
Drop - L.Sopoaga