Super Rugby

Highlanders beat Crusaders in Dunedin




Saturday’s first Super Rugby match is between a recent former champion and the current Super Rugby champions the Crusaders.

The unbeaten Highlanders had a bye last weekend while the Crusaders suffered their first loss of the Super Rugby season at the hands of the Hurricanes.

  • The Crusaders have won nine of their last 11 games against the Highlanders, including each of their last three meetings.
  • The Highlanders have won their last eight games on home turf; the last time they won more in succession at home was a 13-game glut from 2000 to 2002.
  • The Crusaders will be out to avoid consecutive losses in the regular season for the first time since April 2015.
  • The Highlanders have made 15+ offloads in four of their last five games on home turf, making an average of 16 offloads per game in that time.
  • Waisake Naholo has scored eight tries in his last five games against the Crusaders, with each coming in the form of a brace.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick off.

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

Sam Whitelock has been ruled out so Luke Romano starts and Matt Todd gets the Crusaders captaincy.

The Highlanders kick off and the match is underway.

2.00: A strong start from the Highlanders earns them the ball back and they immediately put the Crusaders under pressure in their 22.  The Crusaders defend well and turn the ball over and kick it into touch.

3.00: The Highlanders win the line out but the ball gets turned over the the Crusaders kick the ball out again.

5.00: The Crusaders win a line out near the half way line. They switch back in the passing and George Bridge gets through. He backs himself and races away to the line and scores. TRY!

7.00: Mitch Hunt adds the conversion.

9.00: The Highlanders try to hit back by working the ball to thee Crusaders 5m line They go through 5 phases and Liam Coltman fires off the side of the ruck and drives over and scores. TRY! 

10.00: Lima Sopoaga adds the conversion and the scores are level.

13.00: The Highlanders break through the Crusaders defence on the wing. The attack is slowed but the Highlanders continue to go for the line passing the ball as they go. Eventually they get to the line and Lima Sopoaga goes over to score. The TMO confirms. TRY! 

14.00: Sopoaga converts his try.

18.00: The Crusaders go through six phases and get into the Highlanders 22. On the 7th phase they kick wide as Jordan Taufua is down injured and they have the advantage. The ball is lost so everyone is called back for a penalty.

19;00: Hunt takes the penalty kick and nails it.

24.00: The Crusaders win a line out in the Highlanders half. The Highlanders however slow the ball to a stop and they get the scrum put in.

26.00: The Highlanders win the scrum and boot the ball upfield. The Crusaders run the ball to the Highlanders 22 but then lose the ball and Ben Smith boots it back upfield and into touch.

28.00: The Crusaders are starting to find holes. The finishing is not quite there though. In a long sequence of play they make several breaks but each time the Highlanders turn the ball over and kick upfield.

32.00: The Crusaders win a line out in their half. The Highlanders slow the attack again.

33.00: The Crusaders pick and go trying to make ground but the Highlanders keep them on the half way line.

34.00: The Highlanders turn the ball over. Ben Smith boots the ball up-field and the Crusaders have to boot it into touch. Thee Highlanders get the throw in. They get pressed back into their half and have to kick ahead and when they chase the ball there is a Highlanders knock on.

38.00: The Crusaders get on the attack. They go through phase after phase from end to end after a David Havili break. They get the ball moving and eventually they go over. The TMO has to check the try. There will be no try as there was a knock on. There may be an earlier one too. No try so the Highlanders have a scrum 5m out from their tryline.

The Highlanders win the scrum. The ball goes into touch. It’s half time.

The half time score was Highlanders 14 Crusaders 10

40.00: The Crusaders kick off and the second half is underway.

41.00: There is an early knock on. The Crusaders win the scrum and run the all. Waisake Naholo goes in high – clothes line – so the TMO is called in to review. He is shown a yellow card. Hunt kicks for touch and sets up the line out.

The Crusaders win the line out but get driven into touch.

43.00: The Highlanders win the line out and kick, the ball does not find touch so the Crusaders run the ball back into the Highlanders 22 where they concede a penalty.

47.00:  Jordan Taufua is down injured but the Crusaders continue with their line out. They win the line out and move the ball from side to side. The Highlanders defend.

49.00: The Highlanders go through the phases after some ping pong kicking. After several phases the Highlanders go over to score. The TMO reviews the try looking for potential offside. The try stands. Elliot Dixon TRY! 

50.00: Lima Sopoaga takes the conversion kick from out wide. He just misses. To the right. Don’t forget that the Highlanders are a man down as Naholo is still in the bin.

52.00: Naholo comes back on for the Highlanders.

54.00 : The Crusaders get an advantage and play on. They shift the ball across the field to Manasa Mataele who chips, chases, gets the ball and offloads to Bryn Hall who scores. TRY!

55.00: Hunt adds the conversion.

61.00: The Highlanders have a penalty. Sopoaga kicks to the corner. The Highlanders win the line out and go through the phases on the Crusaders 5m line.

62.00 The Crusaders hold firm and turn the ball over. Havili boots the ball into touch to relieve some pressure. Not a lot though as the ball goes out on the 22.

64.00: Penalty to the Highlanders. Sopoaga lines up the kick. He nails it.

66.00: The Highlanders are back on the attack. They get to the Crusaders tryline.

68.00: After 10 phases the Highlanders win a penalty under the posts. The Highlanders will kick for posts.

69.00: Sopoaga nails the penalty. Highlanders lead by 8.

71.00: The Highlanders are keeping the Crusaders pinned back in their half. The Crusaders continue to attack but they can’t make any ground.

72.00; Penalty to the Highlanders for not releasing the ball near the half way line.

74.00: The Highlanders go through five phases pressing the Crusaders back in their half and winding the clock down.

75.00: Scrum penalty to the Highlanders just outside the 22. The Highlanders will take a penalty shot at the posts.

76.00: Sopoaga hits the posts. No change in the score.

77.00: Mitch Hunt hooks the restart kick so we have a scrum on the 22 as the ball did not cross the line.

78.00: Penalty to the Crusaders from the scrum. They tap it and run. The Crusaders can’t get out of their 22 though.

80.00: Penalty Crusaders. They kick for touch.

81.00: The Crusaders win the line out but the ball is knocked on. That’s it.

The Highlanders have won.

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The full time score is Highlanders 25 (14) Crusaders 17 (10)


Tries – L.Coltman, L.Sopoaga, E.Dixon
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 2
Drop –
Cards – W.Naholo (41st min yellow)

Tries – G.Bridge, B.Hall
Pen – M.Hunt
Con – M.Hunt 2
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO : Glenn Newman



1.Aki Seiuli, 2. Liam Coltman,3. Siate Tokolahi,4. Jackson Hemopo,5. Tom Franklin,6. Liam Squire,7. Dillon Hunt,8. Luke Whitelock,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li,12. Teihorangi Walden,13. Rob Thompson,14. Waisake Naholo,15. Ben Smith (cc)

Replacements : Ash Dixon (cc), Daniel Lienert-Brown, Kalolo Tulioma, Shannon Frizell, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes


1. Wyatt Crockett 2. Codie Taylor 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Scott Barrett 5. Luke Romano (C)6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis 7. Matt Todd (C) 8. Jordan Taufua 9. Mitchell Drummond 10. Mitchell Hunt 11. George Bridge 12. Tim Bateman 13. Jack Goodhue 14. Seta Tamanivalu 15. David Havili

Replacments 16. Ben Funnell ,17. Chris King ,18. Oliver Jager , 19. Quinton Strange ,20. Billy Harmon ,21. Bryn Hall ,22. Brett Cameron, 23. Manasa Mataele


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