The Highlanders have done it again and added another notch to their belts by knocking over the Crusaders 27-24 in Dunedin on Saturday to add to their victory over the Blues last weekend.
The Highlanders came out of the gate at one hundred miles an hour and stunned the Crusaders for much of the first half with their thrill-a-minute brand of running rugby.
The Crusaders were able to keep their composure and edged their way back into the match in the second half as the Highlanders began to fade from their frantic style of play.
Fresh legs off the bench for the highlanders gave the home team some renewed energy and the got their noses back in front with just ten minutes still on the clock.
This match is already a contender for match of the season with some fantastic running attacking rugby played by both sides, but also some excellent defensive work and a tightly contested arm-wrestle between two in form sides.
In a bizarre twist at the end the stadium clock was running three minutes fast and both sides had to idea, with the Highlanders twice kicking the ball into touch thinking the game was over.
More to follow...
Tries: Hore, Burleigh, Gear
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Tries: Dagg, Ellis
Pens: Bleyendaal 4
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Buxton Popoali'i, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (captain).
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 James Haskell, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Colin, Slade, 22, Telusa Veainu.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Adam Whitelock, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willie Heinz, 21 Patrick Osborne, 22 Zac Guildford.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Kane Brown (New Zealand) (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
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