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Highlanders qualify for Super Rugby play offs

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The Highlanders qualified for the Super Rugby play offs by beating the Jaguares 8-34 with a bonus point in Buenos Aires.

The result qualifies the Highlanders for the play offs and the knock on effect of them qualifying for the knock out stage is that there will be just one Australian team in the play offs.

The Highlanders move up to 48 points in the standings with one round remaining and they cannot be overtaken by the Brumbies or the Waratahs who both have 39 points.

The Highlanders outscored the Jaguares by four tries to one in the match which earned them the bonus point and due to their points differential they move above the Hurricanes into sixth place overall.

The Highlanders made a perfect start to the match as Ben Smith scored the opening try in the second minute with the conversion from Lima Sopoaga adding the conversion.

The Jaguares got on to the scoreboard in the 11th minute with a penalty by Nicolas Sanchez and a minute later they looked likely to score but Rob Thompson picked off an intercept pass and ran in the Highlanders second try.

Tensions were high throughout the match and several times Referee Angus Gardner had to give the captains time to talk to their players about transgressions. He also had to stop several bust ups between the players.

Shortly before half time Elliot Dixon scored the first of his two tries and with five minutes remaining in the opening half Juan Martin Hernandez scored the Jaguares only try of the game.

Dixon went over for his second try half way through the second half and Sopoaga added the conversion and a penalty.

Highlanders winger Matt Faddes who scored a hat-trick of tries last week against the Kings was yellow carded three minutes from full time for a dangerous tackle.

With an extra man the Jaguares put the Highlanders under pressure in their 22 but a combination of staunch defence from the visitors and a series of handling errors prevented the Jaguares from adding to their first half points tally.

Next week in the final round of the regular Super Rugby season the Jaguares host the top ranked Lions in Buenos Aires.

The Highlanders return to New Zealand as they host the Chiefs at home in Dunedin and will be in a confident mood having earned 10 points away from home over the last two weeks.

Final Score Jaguares 8 (8) Highlanders 34 (24) 

Scorers

Jaguares
Tries – J.M.Hernandez
Pen – N.Sanchez
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Highlanders
Tries – B.Smith, R.Thompson, E.Dixon 2
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 4
Drop –
Cards – M.Faddes ((77th min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Ref 2:Federico Anselmi
TMO :Santiago Borsani

Teams

Jaguares

1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Agustín Creevy (cap), 3. Ramiro Herrera; 4.Javier Ortega Desio , 5. Tomás Lavanini; 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Juan M. Leguizamón, 8. Facundo Isa; 9. Martín Landajo, 10. Nicolás Sánchez, 11. Manuel Montero, 12. J Juan Martin Hernandez , 13.Jerónimo de la Fuente , 14. Santiago Cordero; 15. Joaquín Tuculet.

Replacements : 16. Julián Montoya, 17. Santiago García Botta, 18. Enrique Pieretto, 19. Ignacio Larrague, 20.Marcos Kremer , 21. Gonzalo Bertranou, 22. Matías Orlando, 23. Lucas González Amorosino.

Highlanders

1. Josh Hohneck , 2. Ash Dixon , 3. Siosuia Halanukonuka , 4. Tom Franklin , 5. Joe Wheeler , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. James Lentjes , 8. Luke Whitelock , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith (C)

Replacements : 16. Greg Pleasants-Tate , 17. Aki Seiuli , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Te Aihe Toma , 22. Fletcher Smith , 23. Matt Faddes ,

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