Super Rugby

Highlanders beat Crusaders in Christchurch




The Crusaders have played the Highlanders 41 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Crusaders have won 29 matches, lost 11 times, and drawn once.

The Saders’ 29 wins give them a record of winning 71% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of venue.

  • The defending champions Crusaders have won their last seven completed Super Rugby games against the Highlanders, an eighth consecutive win would set the record for the longest winning streak of either side in the history of this fixture.
  • The Highlanders will be hunting for a second away win this season after logging a come-from-behind win away to the Chiefs in Round 2 this campaign; the last time they won multiple regular-season away games against fellow New Zealand opponents was in 2015 (W3).
  • The Landers have scored the opening try of the game in three of their last four away games against the Crusaders in Super Rugby; however, none of those games have resulted in a win for the Dunedin side.
  • The Crusaders have conceded the fewest clean breaks (7), defenders beaten (18), and offloads (6) per game of any team in the 2021 campaign, they are also the only side to concede fewer than 20 points per game so far (18.3).
  • Crusaders’ duo Michael Alaalatoa (22) and Sione Havili Talitui (16) have made the most tackles in their own half of any players yet to miss a single attempt in that zone.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway for Round Six of Super Rugby Aotearoa at a cold and wet Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.

2.00: Will Jordan is a lucky boy, he should have been off for taking out Connor Garden-Bachop. For some bizarre reason, the referee and TMO have given the penalty to the Crusaders because of something Scott Gregory did before the foul play. This is terrible officiating, people wonder why refs get a hard time.

3.00: Samuel Whitelock concedes a penalty for a high tackle, the Highlanders go to the corner.

4.00: The visitors botch a great chance at early points because, and as ever, the Crusaders win the battle at the breakdown.

5.00: George Bridge, returning after six months out, knocks on Richie Mo’unga’s pin-point crossfield kick, and the Landers survive. Just.

7.00: Highlanders win the scrum penalty, and clear their 22.

9.00: It’s end-to-end as both teams try to run the ball from deep inside their half. Mo’unga clears to the 10m for a Landers’ lineout.

11.00: The Highlanders win another kickable penalty, this time Ash Dixon calls on Mitch Hunt to take a shot at goal.

12.00: PENALTY! Hunt opens the scoring. 0-3

14.00: Bryn Evans strays offside, Mo’unga kicks to the opposition’s 22.

16.00: Folau Fakatava saves the day for his side, winning the penalty after Ethan Blackadder looked certain to score from close range. The Crusaders are just a little off in the opening quarter of an hour.

18.00: Codie Taylor doesn’t wait to get onside so he is punished the same way as Evans. Hunt will take another shot.

19.00: PENALTY! Hunt doubles his team’s lead. 0-6

22.00: The Crusaders are making too many handling errors and they are falling foul of the referee; they can’t seem to get into the opposition’s 22.

24.00: TRY! The Highlanders’ pressure finally tolls. They went 14 phases, building slowly before going wide to Billy Harmon on the wing. The flanker spins out of a couple of tackles before crashing over for the game’s first try. 0-11

26.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 0-13

28.00: Another insipid attack ends with a mistake by the defending champions, they have made six handling errors to zero by the Highlanders, and Scott Robertson’s men have had to make 64 tackles to 31 by Tony Brown’s charges.

30.00: David Havili plays the ball on the ground, knocking it out of Folau Fakatava’s hands. Hunt calls for the tee.

31.00: MISS! Hunt pulls his kick past the post. 0-13

32.00: Another kickable penalty for the visitors. Hunt will take another crack, but this time from almost in front.

33.00: PENALTY! Hunt makes no mistake this time. 0-16

35.00: The Crusaders are inside the Highlanders’ 22 and looking dangerous. Jona Nareki wins a turnover, but Folau Fakatava’s kick is charged down; however, the Crusaders once again knock-on in the ‘Red Zone’.

37.00: Hunt clears the danger, but the Crusaders should have enough time for one more attack before the break. The Highlanders do well at the ruck, winning another penalty. Tony Brown’s men are winning the breakdown, and it’s not even close.

39.00: Codie Taylor breaks into the opposition’s half, but Evans gets back to make the tackle. The Crusaders do get a scrum, though.

42.00: The Crusaders set up the drive, the Highlanders defend with vigour.

43.00: TRY! Taylor barges his way over after several attacks on the goal-line. 5-16

44.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 7-16

The halftime score was Crusaders 7 Highlanders 16

41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.

43.00: Excellent Highlanders defending, stopping the Crusaders inside their 22 after the home team made another handling error.

45.00: It’s all Crusaders since the break, but the visitors are staying strong in the face of a lot of pressure.

48.00: Hunt breaks from deep inside his 22 to the halfway line. The flyhalf kicks the ball away, Bridge cleans up before Mo’unga clears.

50.00: On comes Aaron Smith, which is good news for the Highlanders, and Hunt.

51.00: Scott Barrett infringes at the ruck to allow Hunt another shot at goal.

52.00: PENALTY! Hunt slots his fourth goal of the night. 7-19

56.00: Both teams are ringing the changes as they look to the bench to impact the last quarter.

58.00: TRY! A mistake by Will Jordan, on his line, gifts the visitors possession, and the try. Collins booted Mo’unga’s misplaced pass before Hunt toed the ball to the corner of the 22 where Jordan’s brain-freeze saw the Michael Collins crash over for the Highlanders’ second score of the night. 7-24

59.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 7-26

61.00: Penalty to the home team after the visitors collapsed the scrum. Mo’unga kicks to the corner.

65.00: The Crusaders go close but the ball is turned over. The Landers took the ball back over their line giving the hosts an attacking scrum; however, the Saders’ pack is pinged at the set-piece. Cue scenes!

69.00: TRY! David Havili dots down under pressure from two defenders. 12-26

70.00: MISS! Mo’unga misses from near the posts. Wow! 12-26

73.00: The Crusaders cannot keep the ball in their hands for long periods of play. Robertson will chalk this defeat down to it being one of those days.

74.00: TRY! Connor Garden-Bachop swoops on another handling error by the Crusaders and wins the game for the impressive Highlanders. Sensational. 12-31

75.00: CONVERSION! Hunt again. 12-33

77.00: The Crusaders keep coming, but they cannot get out of their own way. This has been as poor a performance as I’ve ever seen by the men in red.

79.00: Highlanders win another relieving penalty.

81.00: The hooter sounds, the ball goes into the stands. Game over!


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The final score is Crusaders 12 (7) Highlanders 33 (16)


Tries – Taylor, Havili
Pen –
Con – Mo’unga
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Harmon, Collins, C. Garden-Bachop
Pen – Hunt (4)
Con – Hunt (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Ben O’Keeffe



15 Will Jordan, 14 George Bridge, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Sevu Reece


15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Scott Gregory, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Paripari Parkinson, 4 Bryn Evans, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ethan De Groot

16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Hugh Renton, 21 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 22 Caleb Makene, 23 James Lentjes

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