Super rugby Trans Tasman

Highlanders humiliate woeful Waratahs

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The Highlanders hammered the woeful Waratahs 59-23 in a high-scoring 11-try bonanza at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

The bonus-point victory keeps the Highlanders in contention for a Super Rugby Trans-Tasman finals berth with one round to play.

Ethan de Groot and Jona Nareki both bagged braces as the Dunedin team ran in nine tries.

This 36-point win is the Highlanders‘ biggest win and sixth Super Rugby victory on the trot against the NSW Waratahs, who cannot buy a win.


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Nareki could have had five tries such was the openness of this game.

Michael Collins, Sio Tomkinson, Ash Dixon, Kazuki Himeno, and Teariki Ben-Nicholas also crossed for the home team.

Tony Brown’s charges also kept the visitors scoreless in the second half.

Mitch Hunt converted seven of his nine attempts (14 points) and he was instrumental in the first-receiver role.

Jack Maddocks and Mark Nawaqanitawase scored the Tahs’ only tries in the first quarter. Will Harrison added 13 points from the kicking tee.

Despite the see-sawing nature of the first half, this was another chastening defeat for an Australian franchise, and another big loss for the Waratahs.

NSW has now conceded 40 points in seven Super Rugby matches this season, it continues the club’s worst run in franchise history.

The Sydney-based team has now lost 12 Super Rugby games in a row, it equals the Melbourne Rebels’ 12-game losing streak from April 2011 to March 2012.

A seven-try first half bonanza sees seven lead changes and a half-century of points

The first stanza was a try-fest. The Highlanders scored five tries and the Waratahs two as the teams notched 56 points between themselves in the first 40 minutes.

Both teams traded blows in the first quarter, the hosts lead by two points before pulling away into a 10-point lead at the interval.

Collins, Tomkinson, and De Groot crossed for the Landers, while Maddocks and Nawaqanitawase hit back for the Tahs as the home team led 19-17.

Harrison’s boot kept the Sydney side in contention, the 21-year-old standoff kicked three penalties and converted both tries.

Harrison kicked his second penalty to put the Tahs ahead before the half-hour.

But Dixon and Nareki’s scores saw the Otago side extend their advantage before the break.

A disjointed second half from both teams still sees four tries as the Highlanders keep Waratahs scoreless

It was not to be for the Australians, who fell away badly in the second stanza. The hosts crossed another four times.

They conceded an early De Groot try after the break after botching a defensive lineout. Things went downhill, fast.

The prop’s second try was converted by Hunt to bring up the forty-burger, five minutes after the restart.

Soon after, Maddocks thought he had a second try, but his five-pointer was chalked off for a knock-on in the build-up.

Cult hero Himeno dotted down just after the hour.

The Tahs came close a couple of times. But they could not add to their first-half tally as they succumb to another humiliating record defeat.

With 10 minutes remaining, Nareki and Ben-Nicholas increased the pain on the visitors.

Final Score: Highlanders 59 (33) Waratahs 23 (23)

Scorers

Highlanders
Tries – Collins, Tomkinson, De Groot (2), Dixon, Nareki (2), Himeno, Ben-Nicholas
Pen –
Con – Hunt (7)
Drop –
Cards –

Waratahs
Tries – Maddocks, Nawaqanitawase
Pen – Harrison (3)
Con – Harrison (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Jono Brendin
TMO: Chris Hart

Teams

Highlanders

15 Josh Ioane, 14 Sio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Ethan de Groot

Replacements:
 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Hugh Renton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas

NSW Waratahs

15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Darcy Breen, 2 David Porecki, 1 Andrew Tuala

Replacements:
 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Chris Talakai, 18 TBC, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Will Harris, 21 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 22 Jack Grant, 23 Tane Edmed

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