The Highlanders have played the Chiefs 33 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Highlanders have won 14 matches, lost 18 times and drawn once.
The Highlanders’ 14 wins give them a record of winning 42% of their matches against the Chiefs regardless of venue.
- The Chiefs have lost only one of their last five Super Rugby games against the Highlanders (W3, D1); however, the previous encounter ended in a thrilling 31-31 draw.
- Aaron Mauger’s side has lost five of their last six Super Rugby games (W1), including their last three on the bounce.
- Each of the Chiefs’ last four Super Rugby games has been won by the away team on the day, with the Hamilton-based squad picking up two wins and two defeats in that stretch.
- Warren Gatland’s side has conceded 10+ penalties in six of their last seven Super Rugby fixtures, as many times as they had done so in their 24 games prior.
- Shannon Frizell (Highlanders) has scored two tries in just 90 minutes of Super Rugby action against the Chiefs, as well as making three offloads in that time.
- Lock Tupou Vaa’i makes his debut for the visitors, the 198 cm (6 ft 6 in), 118 kg (260 lb; 18 st 8 lb) 20year-old has nine caps for Taranaki and represented the New Zealand U20 team six times in 2019.
- Today is the first match of the reformed southern hemisphere tournament, Super Rugby Aotearoa following COVID-19, which cut the current season short after seven rounds.
- Lachlan Boshier plays his 50th Super Rugby game.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.
LATE CHANGE: Josh Ioane is a late change, out injured. Mitch Hunt will move to first-five from fullback and Vilimoni Koroi will debut at the back for the Highlanders.
Sam Gilbert also makes his debut, on the right-wing, for the Dunedin franchise. Bryn Gatland comes into the matchday 23.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, beginning the new, post-COVID-19 Super Rugby Aotearoa. LET’S GO!
2.00: The Highlanders, looking to free it up, earn a penalty for offsides by Kaleb Trask on the Chiefs 10-metre line. Mitch Hunt calls for the tee.
3.00: PENALTY! Hunt stabs the three points down the middle of the uprights. 3-0
4.00: Josh Dixon is pinged for holding, straight after the restart. Trask drills the ball to the corner.
5.00: Shaun Stevenson is tackled into touch near the corner flag after a superb driving maul by the forwards. Hunt clears to near the Landers’ 10m.
8.00: The Chiefs are all over the home team. Brad Weber and Stevenson both go close before Lachlan Boshier is kept out. Sio Tomkinson gives away a penalty, and Damian McKenzie will take a shot.
9.00: PENALTY! We are all square. 3-3
11.00: Gilbert, with McKenzie bearing down on him, clears from inside his 22. Mitchell Brown is down.
13.00: Paripari Parkinson is caught for entering the ruck from the side. McKenzie will take another shot.
14.00: PENALTY! The fullback’s kick is good. Chiefs take the lead. 6-3
15.00: The hosts win a penalty after the restart, Aaron Smith pinged for holding, and will opt for a lineout.
16.00: TRY! The Highlanders power their way over for the first try of Super Rugby Aotearoa. Ash Dixon, the skipper, flops over the whitewash. 8-6
17.00: MISS! Hunt misses from a comfortable position next to the poles. 8-6
19.00: Highlanders go to the corner after the game’s seventh penalty in 20 minutes.
21.00: TRY! Tomkinson scores next to the posts after the home team’s lineout was initially lost. The Chiefs turned the ball over, Rob Thompson danced thew some defenders before offloading to his midfield partner to dot down, after taking Aaron Smith’s delayed pass. 13-6
23.00: CONVERSION! Hunt makes no mistake, this time. 15-6
25.00: Mitchell Brown has not recovered from an earlier knock and is replaced by Naitoa Ah Kuoi.
27.00: TRY! The Chiefs hit back through Sean Wainui, who strolls over the chalk after some quick hands and sublime inter-passing between forwards and backs. 15-11
28.00: CONVERSION! McKenzie is on song, tonight! 15-13
30.00: The Chiefs are on the march inside the opposition’s 22.
32.00: YELLOW CARD! Vilimoni Koroi, on debut, his sent to the naughty step for a tip-tackle. 15-13
33.00: PENALTY! McKenzie puts his side back in front. 15-16
35.00: Another penalty, after some sloppy play, allows the Highlanders to kick to the 22.
38.00: Highlanders kick another penalty to the corner. The chiefs are struggling in the set-pieces, so this will be interesting.
39.00: TRY! Marino Mikaele Tu’u takes Hunt’s inside ball and bulldozed his way through several defenders to score. Smith went to the blindside after the driving maul was halted near the try-line. Smith played Hunt, who judged his pass perfectly. 20-16
40.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras from out wide. 22-16
The halftime score was Highlanders 22 Chiefs 16
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Dunedin. The Chiefs lose a lineout but win possession and a penalty, allowing the visitors to regroup.
44.00: The Chiefs are struggling at the lineout, they’ve lost two in a row, and almost lose another as they look to hit back. Gatland’s men move close to the 22, win a penalty advantage.
46.00: The 11-phase attack ends with the 16th penalty of the game. McKenzie will take a shot at goal.
47.00: PENALTY! McKenzie reduces the deficit to three. 22-19
50.00: The penalties are mounting. We’ve had 20 inside 50 minutes, while only having three scrums.
52.00: Aaron Cruden enters the game replacing Trask at first receiver.
55.00: Another sustained attack ends with a knock-on, this time captain Brad Weber cannot take a stray pass.
58.00: Mauger’s side pile on the pressure, winning a penalty for offside. Hunt calls for the kicking tee.
60.00: PENALTY! Hunt extends the lead. 25-19
61.00: YELLOW CARD! Jona Nareki takes out McKenzie in the air. The ref had a look and, correctly, issued another yellow card. 25-19
64.00: The Chiefs opt for a scrum instead of kicking for the corner because their lineouts have been poor. A scrappy scrum leads to lost territory, before conceding another penalty and a lost opportunity.
67.00: Give the Chiefs their due, despite their set-piece issues, their handling has been good. They mount another long attack inside the opposition’s 22, patiently building before winning another penalty advantage.
68.00: The 15-phase attack ends with Stevenson being held-up over the goal-line. The Chiefs are not sure what to do. Finally, they opt for another scrum.
72.00: TRY! Anton Lienert-Brown strolls over after some good work by Cruden and McKenzie; finally, the extra man made the difference. 25-24
73.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 25-24
75.00: BIG MOMENT! The Chiefs lose another lineout, but win the penalty at the breakdown; they kick to the 22.
78.00: DROP-GOAL! McKenzie slots from in front to put the visitors ahead with less than two to play. 28-27
79.00: DROP-GOAL! What a replay by Bryn Gatland, who slots a field-goal of his own. 28-27
81.00: The Highlanders win a penalty, the hooter sounds, and the ball is booted into touch. WOW!
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The final score is Highlanders 28 (22) Chiefs 27 (16)
Tries – A. Dixon, Tomkinson, Mikaele Tu’u,
Pen – Hunt (2)
Con – Hunt (2)
Drop – Gatland
Cards – Koroi (Yellow, 32′), Nareki (Yellow, 61′)
Tries – Wainui, Lienert-Brown
Pen – McKenzie (4)
Con – McKenzie
Drop – McKenzie
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: James Doleman
15 Vilimoni Koroi, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Paripari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Teihorangi Walden, 23 Bryn Gatland
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ryan Coxon, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Dylan Nel, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Etene Nanai-Seturo