Super Rugby

Highlanders end losing streak to Crusaders




The Highlanders have beaten the Crusaders 25-17 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin ending a three match losing streak to the defending Super Rugby champions.

The result means the Crusaders have suffered back to back losses for the first time since 2006 after they were beaten last weekend by the Hurricanes.

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The result also means that the Highlanders remain one of two teams who have yet to lose this season after playing three matches in 2018.

The Highlanders three tries to two victory also puts them on top of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.

The Highlanders led for all but a brief moment in the opening quarter when George Bridge scored the first try of the match which with the conversion put the visiting side into a 7 point lead after as many minutes.

The Highlanders responded with a try by hooker Liam Coltman which Lima Sopoaga converted to level the scores.

The teams were only level on the scoreboard for four minutes though as Sopoaga crashed over for the Highlanders second try which he converted.

Mitchell Hunt added a penalty shortly after and just before half time the Crusaders looked to have taken the lead again but they had a try disallowed for a knock on so the scores remained 14-10 at the break.

As the second half started the Highlanders lost Waisake Naholo to the sin-bin but instead of conceding a try whilst being a player down it was the Highlanders who scored next.

Elliot Dixon crossed for the Highlanders third and final which Sopoaga converted.

The Crusaders responded almost immediately as Manasa Mataele broke down the wing and set up Bryn Hall for the visitors second try. Mitchell Hunt added the conversion which kept the pressure on the hosts.

The teams were evenly matched in the second half so when the highlanders were awarded a penalty they chose to take the points as little else was on offer.

Sopoaga’s penalty with just over ten minutes remaining pushed the Highlanders out to an eight point lead which meant the Crusaders had to score twice if they were to win.

The Highlanders though kept the Crusaders in their own half and gave the visitors few chances. Sopoaga missed the opportunity to extend the lead as he hit the post with his final shot at goal.

The Crusaders kept the pressure on until the death in the hope of a losing bonus point but the Highlanders held their line until the final whistle.

Next week in Round 6 the Crusaders host the Bulls at home in Christchurch while the Highlanders travel to Wellington to play the Hurricanes.

Final Score Highlanders 25 (14) Crusaders 17 (10)


Tries – L.Coltman, L.Sopoaga, E.Dixon
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 2
Drop –
Cards – W.Naholo (41st min yellow)

Tries – G.Bridge, B.Hall
Pen – M.Hunt
Con – M.Hunt 2
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO : Glenn Newman



1.Aki Seiuli, 2. Liam Coltman,3. Siate Tokolahi,4. Jackson Hemopo,5. Tom Franklin,6. Liam Squire,7. Dillon Hunt,8. Luke Whitelock,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li,12. Teihorangi Walden,13. Rob Thompson,14. Waisake Naholo,15. Ben Smith (cc)

Replacements : Ash Dixon (cc), Daniel Lienert-Brown, Kalolo Tulioma, Shannon Frizell, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes


1. Wyatt Crockett 2. Codie Taylor 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Scott Barrett 5. Luke Romano (C)6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis 7. Matt Todd (C) 8. Jordan Taufua 9. Mitchell Drummond 10. Mitchell Hunt 11. George Bridge 12. Tim Bateman 13. Jack Goodhue 14. Seta Tamanivalu 15. David Havili

Replacments 16. Ben Funnell ,17. Chris King ,18. Oliver Jager , 19. Quinton Strange ,20. Billy Harmon ,21. Bryn Hall ,22. Brett Cameron, 23. Manasa Mataele

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