Hosea Gear was rewarded with a call up to the All Blacks training squad after an impressive display against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland tonight.
The Highlanders scored a couple of long-range five pointers with Gear benefitting on both occasions to give the visitors a four-try bonus point win and retain the Gordy Hunter memorial trophy for the summer.
Gear scored two tries, both laid on by some attacking brilliance from firstly Kurt Baker and then Ben Smith, who both made massive running meters before off-loading to Gear. Smith and Baker also had good outings on the Eden Park turf – both looking dangerous with ball in hand during the full 80mins.
Adam Thomson and Tamati Ellison also crossed for the men in ‘pink & green’ and although the Blues showed a bit of fight in the second half… it was too little too late!
The Highlanders now have a short turnaround with their next match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.
Final Score Blues 20 (6) Highlanders 27 (15)
Tries - T. Mailau, T Woodcock
Pen - G Anscombe 2
Con - G Anscombe. L Munro
Tries - T. Ellison, H Gear 2, A Thomson
Pen - C Noakes
Con - C Noakes 2
Cards - P Burleigh (yellow 62nd minute)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2:Ben Skeen
TMO : Bryce Lawrence
1. Tony Woodcock, 2. James Parsons, 3. Tevita Mailau, 4. Liaki Moli, 5. Filo Paulo, 6. Steven Luatua, 7. Luke Braid (c) / Daniel Braid, 8. Peter Saili / Luke Braid, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Gareth Anscombe, 11. Sherwin Stowers, 12. Michael Hobbs, 13. Francis Saili, 14. David Raikuna, 15. Hadleigh Parkes.
Replacements: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Angus Ta'avao, 18. Ali Williams, 19. Daniel Braid / Peter Saili / Dan Pryor, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Ma'a Nonu, 22. Lachie Munro.
1 Jamie Mackintosh (c) 2 Andrew Hore 3 Ma'afu Fia 4 Jarrad Hoeata 5 Hoani MacDonald 6 Adam Thomson 7 Tim Boys 8 Nick Crosswell 9 Jimmy Cowan 10 Chris Noakes 11 Hosea Gear 12 Phil Burleigh 13 Tamati Ellison 14 Kurt Baker 15 Ben Smith
Replacements : 16 Jason Rutledge 17 Bronson Murray 18 Josh Bekhuis 19 Scott Fuglistaller 20 Aaron Smith 21 Mike Delany 22 Kenny Lynn