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Highlanders beat Reds in Dunedin

TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 08: A general view during the Super Rugby Rd 7 match between Sunwolves v Bulls at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on April 8, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images for SUNWOLVES)

The Highlanders have already qualified for the Super Rugby playoffs this season while the Reds cannot qualify.

Even though the Highlanders can rest assured that they will be playing next weekend they could lose 7th place if they play badly and the Sharks play well so they have plenty to play for.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are underway in the final round of Super Rugby. Stephen Moore leads out the Reds and in doing so, becomes the highest capped hooker in the tournament’s history, overtaking Keven Mealamu with 176 appearances.

3.00: TRY Waisake Naholo! Tevita Li makes the initial break. The Highlanders go wide after some quick recycling, Rob Thompson collects and throws a long ball to Malakai Fekitoa. The centre steps and plays the winger, who then runs over Eto Nabuli and scores in the corner: 5-0

4,00: Lima Sopoaga slots the touchline conversion: 7-0

7.00: The home team is putting the Reds under the pump. They are attacking in waves and the Queenslanders are struggling to stop their hosts. The recycling from the breakdown and the offloads are causing havoc for the visitors.

9.00: TRY James Lentjes! Li and Fekitoa are involved again. Some quick ball sees the Highlanders go wide. Naholo takes three defenders before the flanker runs through Karmichael Hunt to score. The Highlanders went from right to left to right: 12-0

10.00: Sopoaga makes no mistake: 14-0

12.00: The Highlanders are using the skip-pass and decoy runners, excellently. The Reds’ backline is all at sea, missing tackles, being run around and run over.

13.00: Rob Thompson is caught offsides, so Quade Cooper kicks to touch. A rare moment of respite for the Australians.

15.00: The Reds lose the ball inside the Highlanders’ 22, and the home team start another lightning-fast counter-attack. Fekitoa, Li and Richard Buckman are all involved, as the Highlanders march up the field. It does not matter what the Reds do, the Highlanders find space and a gap in the defenders.

17.00: Again! Liam Squire, using his pace, almost gets another offload away, after yet another sideline break. The Highlanders’ are playing at a blistering tempo, one that the Aussies cannot stop. The Highlanders’ scrum is putting the Reds under pressure but has to be reset a couple of times.

20.00: After some good build-up play by the Reds, they lose the ball in midfield at the breakdown. Izack Rodda and Rob Simmons combined nicely, but the Highlanders’ loose forwards, won the ball back and the home team clear the danger.

22.00: Cooper makes a break after a lovely step, he pops to Duncan Paia’aua, who makes some metres before being stopped. A good counter-ruck from the Highlanders comes to nothing, as the Reds win the penalty. Cooper kicks to touch and the Reds have a good attacking lineout chance.

23.00: Offsides by the visitors, who are pinged for having an extra man in the lineout. Oh dear.

26.00: The Reds have had some good territory, they just cannot hold onto the ball, or keep their discipline. They need some points with all this possession.

28.00: Cooper kicks away the ball, trying another little dink, but Sopoaga takes an easy mark, and possession is given away.

30.00: Campbell Magnay makes a break after Taniela Tupou ran over Sopoaga. The ball is sent wide to Magnay, but his pass to Izaia Perese, is poor and the chance is wasted. At least the Reds are getting some purchase on their attacks, they just need the final pass to be better.

32.00: The Reds throw another forward pass; they went nine phases, but lose the ball with an unforced error. In the last 20 minutes, the Australians have had 71 percent possession, but zero points.

33.00: TRY, no TRY! Sopoaga is short – great work by George Smith in defence. Luke Whitelock made a wonderful break and offloads to Tom Franklin, in support. Franklin offloads to James Lentjes, who passes to Tevita Li. The wing charges towards the try line, but is tackled inches short.

34.00: TRY Kayne Hammington! The scrumhalf breaks from the base of the centre-field scrum and ghosts through James Tuttle and Caleb Timu – too easy! 19-0

35.00: Sapoaga can’t miss from in front: 21-0

38.00: TRY Izack Rodda! The Reds go through another multi-phase play, but on the ninth phase, Cooper kicks the ball away. However, they get a penalty and go quickly. The lock picks up at the base of the ruck, and for the first time, the Reds get quick ball at the breakdown, and Rodda dives over, near the touchline: 21-5

39.00: MISS! Cooper misses from out wide: 21-5

41.00: Naholo goes close, the Highlanders recycle, but lose the ball after some excellent work at the breakdown by the Reds. Tuttle plays Hamish Stewart, who boots the ball into the stands.

The half-time score was Highlanders 21 Reds 5

41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway in Dunedin. The Reds cannot start any worse than they did in the first half. They need to convert their pressure into points, make their first-time tackles and stop making silly errors.

42.00: TRY Tevita Li! The wing dives in after taking Lima Sopoaga’s final pass. The move was almost botched with some shoddy handling, but Li’s finish was sublime. He had to beat Caleb Timu and still dot the ball down while staying in field: 26-5

43.00: MISS! Sopoaga can’t add the extras: 26-5

47.00: The Reds are pinned inside their 22. They try to run out of danger, but James Tuttle throws a wild pass to Hamish Stewart and the Highlanders will have a five-metre scrum.

49.00: PENALTY TRY! The Highlanders bulldoze the Reds’ set-piece and are awarded the score: 33-5

52.00: The Highlanders are emptying their bench. The Reds have the lineout after a penalty and they begin an attack. eventually, after going nowhere, James Lentjes is penalised for advancing early at the lineout. Cooper puts the ball out on the five-metres line.

54.00: TRY Alex Mafi! The Reds power their way over the whitewash with a superb driving maul. George Smith controlled the maul and the reserve hooker only had to fall over the line: 33-10

55.00: MISS! Cooper misses his second conversion of the evening: 33-10

57.00: BIG MISTAKE! Cooper collects Sopoaga’s grubber, but the standoff steps on the sideline while trying to keep the ball in play.

58.00: TRY? Li gets his second after taking Sopoabeautifultiful cross-kick. Wait! The referee is going to the TMO for a knock-on. The replay shows that Li dropped the ball in the act of grounding.

60.00: The Reds replace their entire front row. The break from the scrum and Cooper clears the danger. Good play by the Aussies.

62.00: Naholo goes close after Buckman took Fekitoa’s beautiful pass. It took three Reds’ defenders to stop the flying Fijian.

63.00: George Smith – the most penalised player in Super Rugby – is caught again. The Highlanders got their driving maul going. After Ash Dixon sent the ball out, the former Wallaby was penalised.

65.00: TRY Ash Dixon! The hooker pumps his legs and drives through several defenders to score: 38-10

66.00: The conversion is good by the Highlanders’ standoff: 40-10

68.00: TRY Caleb Timu! The flanker collected a wonderful offload from Izaia Perese on the touchline after Cooper sent a wide, skip-pass to the wing: 40-15

69.00: Cooper, finally, finds his radar: 40-17

72.00: The Highlanders have a scrum in centre field, on the Reds 22.

74.00: The Highlanders have the lineout on the Reds’ five-metres line. They go to their driving maul and win another penalty after Smith is – again – penalised for entering from the side.

78.00: The home team keep coming, however, they can’t get over the whitewash. The Reds are defending for their lives.

80.00: another attack comes to nought, the hooter sounds, and Mike Fraser blows for the end of the game.

Full-time

Live In-Play Betting.

The final score is Highlanders 40 (21) Reds 17 (5)

Scorers

Highlanders
Tries – Naholo, Lentjes, Hammington, Li, Penalty Try, Dixon
Pen –
Con – Sopoaga (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Reds
Tries – Rodda, Mafi, Timu
Pen –
Con – Cooper
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Aaron Paterson

Teams

Highlanders:

15 Richard Buckman, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Patelesio Tomkinson.

Reds

15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Adam Korczyk, 7 George Smith, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Sef Fa’agase.

Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Reece Hewat, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jayden Ngamanu