The Highlanders will be looking to make it three wins in a row over the Crusaders in this match and to help them achieve it they will be playing at home in Dunedin.
We are waiting for the kick off.
The Crusaders kick off and the match is underway at Forysth Barr Stadium.
1.00: The Crusaders make an explosive start to the match pressing the Highlanders into their 22. There are some big hits going in and the Highlanders have an injury break already as James Lentjes is down. The medical buggy is on. Joe Wheeler will replace Lentjies who is able to walk off. The game resumes with a scrum for the Crusaders 15m out.
2.00: The Highlanders push the Crusaders back to the half way line but then concede a penalty for not rolling away. Mitch Hunt will have a shot at the posts.
4.00: Hunt takes the shot and nails it. The Crusaders lead.
6.00: The Crusaders almost get through after the Highlanders lose the ball in the air. Scott Barrett goes for the corner and puts a foot in touch but we are called back for a knock on.
11.00: There is another short break for an injury to David Havili. Liam Squire is struggling so he gets some more strapping on his knee. It’s a highly physical clash.
14.00: The Crusaders are hammering away at the Highlanders in their 22. Some brutal hits going in but the Highlanders are keeping them out.
18.00: The Crusaders launch another wave of attacks at the Highlanders but their defence keeps them out. The Crusaders knock on.
19.00: The Highlanders win the scrum and kick high, the Crusaders get to the ball first but knock on inside their own half.
22.00: Penalty to the Highlanders. Lima Sopoaga takes the shot and levels the scores.
23.00: The Crusaders concede back to back penalties – this one at the line out. Sopoaga will have another shot at the posts.
25.00: Sopoaga misses the shot.
Tackles made count : Highlanders 46 Crusaders 10
26.00: The Crusaders concede another penalty for offside at the ruck. The Highlanders take the line out and go long. The ball gets to Waisake Naholo who slips the ball inside to Gareth Evans who scores the Highlanders first TRY of the season.
27.00: Sopoaga adds the conversion. Highlanders lead.
29.00: Penalty after the restart to the Crusaders. Hunt takes the shot and nails it.
30.00: There is another break in play as Jordan Taufua is down injured after colliding with Sopoaga going for a high ball.He carries on.
33.00: There is another break in play for Taufua who is down again after another big collision.
34.00: As the game resumes with a scrum, Aaron Smith spots a whole in the Crusaders defence and he chips ahead for the Highlanders. Waisake Naholo chases the ball, gets to it and scores. No one was home for the Crusaders. TRY!
36.00: Sopoaga slots the conversion.
39.00: The Crusaders win a line out inside their half. They run the ball into the Highlanders half as the siren sounds. The ball is knocked on so it’s half time.
The half time score was Highlanders 17 Crusaders 6
The Highlanders kick off for the second half and we are underway again.
41.00: The Highlanders get an early penalty. Sopoaga slots it and extends the lead. Crockett and Alaalatoa have replaced Moody and Franks for the Crusaders.
45.00: Scrum penalty to the Highlanders against Crockett. They kick for touch and the line out.
46.00: WOW! The Highlanders win the line out. Smith pops the ball to Sopoaga who chips ahead. Malakai Fekitoa chases and gets the ball to Waisake Naholo who races for the line and scores under the posts. TRY! Precision.
47.00; Sopoaga slots the conversion.
50.00: Penalty to the Crusaders. They kick for touch and a 5m line out.
Penalties conceded : Highlanders 4 Crusaders 6
51.00: the Crusaders win the line out Mitch Hunt attacks the line under the posts. The TMO is called in but it looks like the ball has been held up by Malakai Fekitoa.
52.00: Crusaders 5m scrum. They win the scrum and go wide. Dagg slices through and gets to the line but we have to go to the TMO again. It looked short and it will be reviewed. No try. 5m scrum.
53.00: The Crusaders power their scrum over the line and are awarded a penalty try. Under the new rules there is no need for a conversion so it’s 7 points for the Crusaders.
59.00: Turnovers in broken play from both sides but the Crusaders move the ball around freely as they attack in the Highlanders half. They do however knock on so the Highlanders have a scrum.
64.00: The Crusaders are keeping the Highlanders pinned in their 22. They have an edge in the set piece which is keeping them the Highlanders under pressure.
65.00: The Crusaders win a scrum on the 5m line and send the ball wide to Havili who scores in the corner. TRY !
67.00: Hunt takes the conversion kick but misses. To the left.
69.00; The Crusaders have the momentum. Their heads are up and they are moving the ball around. Handling however lets them down and they knock on.
Last five minutes possession : Highlanders 16% Crusaders 84%
71.00: The Highlanders look to attack down the wing (Tevita Li) but they are forced into touch.
72.00: David Havili has fallen hard trying to catch the ball. The medics have rushed on as he landed on his head and shoulder. Malakai Fekitoa is yellow carded as he connected with Havili in the air. Havili is fine and has got back up. The TMO is now looking at a tackle by Richard Buckman. Nothing in it so the game resumes. Crusaders kick to the corner and have an extra man for the rest of the game.
74.00: The Crusaders stretch the Highlanders defence and they get the overlap and score in the corner. TRY! Whetu Douglas.
76.00: Hunt adds the conversion and we are in for a nail biting finish.
77.00: Sopoaga goes for a drop goal – he is well off but the Crusaders will have to attack from deep. They do.
78.00: The Crusaders move the ball down the wing and there is a two man overlap. Seta Tamanivalu gets the ball, slips off a tackle and scores. TRY!
79.00: Marty McKenzie slips as he tries to convert and misses.
80.00: The Crusaders kick the ball into touch and have won.
The full time score is Highlanders 27 (17) Crusaders 30 (6)
Tries – G.Evans, W.Naholo 2
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 3
Cards – M.Fekitoa (71st min yellow)
Tries – Penalty try, D. Havili, W.Douglas, S.Tamanivalu
Pen – M.Hunt 2
Con – Penalty try conversion, Hunt
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: Jamie Nutbrown
TMO : Shane McDermott
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown,2. Liam Coltman,3. Siosuia Halanukonuka,4. Alex Ainley,5. Tom Franklin,6. Elliot Dixon ( C ),7. James Lentjes,8. Liam Squire,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li,12. Rob Thompson,13. Malakai Fekitoa,14. Waisake Naholo,15. Richard Buckman
Replacements: 16. Adrian Smith ,17. Craig Millar,18. Siate Tokolahi,19. Joe Wheeler,20. Gareth Evans,21. Kayne Hammington,22. Fletcher Smith,23. Patrick Osborne
1. Joe Moody , 2. Codie Taylor , 3. Owen Franks , 4. Scott Barrett , 5. Sam Whitelock (C) , 6. Jordan Taufua , 7. Matt Todd (VC) , 8. Whetu Douglas , 9. Bryn Hall , 10. Mitchell Hunt , 11. Seta Tamanivalu , 12. Ryan Crotty (VC) , 13. Jack Goodhue , 14. Israel Dagg , 15. David Havili
Replacements : 16. Ben Funnell , 17. Wyatt Crockett , 18. Michael Alaalatoa , 19. Luke Romano , 20. Jed Brown , 21. Mitchell Drummond , 22. Marty McKenzie , 23. George Bridge