This will be the first meeting between the Highlanders and Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby; the Highlanders have won five of their last six games in the competition when facing a team for the first time (L1).
The Highlanders have lost their last seven consecutive Super Rugby games, their longest losing streak in the competition since an 11-game stretch from June 2012 to April 2013.
- The Landers have won 16 of their last 19 Super Rugby games at home against teams from outside New Zealand (D1, L2),
including their last three.
- Moana Pasifika has lost four of their five games in Super Rugby Pacific (W1), including back-to-back defeats to the Blues in Round 7; moreover, they’ve scored 20+points in a game only once, although, they went on to win that game (24-19 v Hurricanes – 25 March 2022).
- Only the Crusaders (94%) have a higher success rate from mauls in 2022 than the Highlanders (91%) and Moana Pasifika (90%).
- Tony Brown’s men have scored five tries from a scrum, the second-most by any team (Chiefs – 6), and three more than Aaron Mauger’s side (2).
- The New Zealand franchise has made 114 carries per game in 2022, the second-most of any team (Chiefs – 128), and 24 per game more than the Pacific Islanders (90).
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEP! We are underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Otago.
3.00: Shannon Frizell is limping off after an innocuous tackle before the Highlanders win a penalty.
3.00: TRY! The hosts went through the phases after the attacking lineout. Mitch Hunt danced around two defenders before sending a long, floated skip-pass to Mosese Dawai, who swan dived in the corner to open the scoring. 5-0
5.00: CONVERSION! Hunt converts from wide. 7-0
7.00: Sam Gilbert strays offside during an 11-phase attack by the visitors.
9.00: PENALTY! Christian Leali’ifano puts his team on the scoresheet. 7-3
11.00: Timoci Tavatavanawai’s strong run leads to a penalty for the islanders, which is kicked to the corner by Willy Havili.
12.00: TRY! Moana Pasifika finsih off a sublime attack from the lineout. Several carries saw Levi Aumua take Danny Toala’s offload to score from close-range. 7-8
13.00: CONVERSION! Leali’ifano adds the extras. 7-10
16.00: Another sustained attack from Mauger’s men ends with Marino Mikaele-Tu’u winning a penalty at the ruck.
18.00: This game is really enjoyable; lots of good handling, running rugby, and continuity as the teams throw everything at each other.
20.00: Highlanders are almost in after Dawai’s chip-kick put the opposition on the back foot; however, the Landers knocked on, for the first time in the game, which killed the chance at five.
22.00: Moana wins the scrum penalty to clear the danger.
25.00: Despite having most of the possession, the islanders have been stuck inside their half for most of the game.
27.00: Fetuli Paea challenges for Hunt’s bomb, but the centre knocks on in the challenge for a Moana scrum near the touchline. Highlanders’ kicking game has been decent, but nothing is coming from the tactic.
29.00: Another turnover by Moana Pasifika leads to a penalty to the hosts after Samuel Slade and Sekope Kepu are caught offsides. Hunt goes to the corner.
31.00: Gilbert goes close but is held short, the ref, however, goes back for an illegal side enrty at the maul.
32.00: TRY! Andrew Makalio flops over the chalk after a powerful driving maul by the Highlanders’ forwards. 12-10
33.00: MISS! Hunt hits the post. 12-10
35.00: Connor Garden-Bachop knocked on Leali’ifano’s stray pass to set up a counter-attack outside the Highlanders’ 22. The attack, however, comes to nothing after Veikoso Poloniati lost the ball with no one in front of the lock.
38.00: Landers set up an attacking lineout inside the 22.
39.00: YELLOW CARD! Veikoso Poloniati is off for a side entry to the maul. Some good defending of the rolling maul by Mauger’s men; however, they managed to hold up the Landers at a cost of a man. 12-10
40.00: TRY! Makalio almost gets a second try, but the hooker is stopped short. Quick thinking from Aaron Smith, who threw a between-the legs-skip-pass to Dawai for the score. 17-10
42.00: MISS! Hunt’s kick edges past the post. 17-10
The halftime score was Highlanders 17 Moana Pasifika 10
41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.
43.00: Highlanders kick to the corner after another sustained attack.
45.00: NO TRY! Makalio thought he had a second after another destructive roling maul, but he took his hands off the ball and only regained it when Smith put it forward in the hooker’s hands. 17-10
47.00: The Landers went back to the corner because they had a penalty advantage. Nothing came of the maul this time, but yet another offside penalty (11-4) sees the ref call over Kepu for another chat.
48.00: Superb defending by Moana’s forwards to keep the maul at bay before Ezekiel Lindenmuth tackled Smith into touch.
49.00: A poor throw by Luteru Tolai gives the home team an attacking scrum on the line.
51.00: Garden-Bachop’s handling error killed another promising attack. The Highlanders should have taken more advantage of their extra man, but some impatience, coupled with strong Moana defending, has kept the second stanza scoreless.
52.00: TRY! A scrum penalty led to yet another kick to the corner. This time, the Landers manage to get over the line through substitue hooker Rhys Marshall, who peeled off the maul to score. 22-10
54.00: MISS! The kick hits the post. 22-10
56.00: TRY! Moana hit back after Scott Gregory lost possession near his line trying to counter. Instead, the islanders sent the ball wide to Tima Fainga’anuku, who beat the cover defenders to the corner flag. 22-15
57.00: CONVERSION! Leali’ifano curls his kick through the poles. 22-17
60.00: Wonderful defending by Mauger’s forwards to halt yet another driving maul on their try line.
63.00: PENALTY! Hunt extends. 25-17
64.00: It’s all Highlanders.
67.00: YELLOW CARD! Two more offsides leads to Alamanda Motuga going off. 25-17
68.00: TRY! Folau Fakatava takes the ball off the back of the maul, and the nine darts blind to score. 30-17
69.00: MISS! the kick is no good. 30-17
72.00: Moana have given away eight penalties to none since the break, way too many to win a close game.
75.00: The Landers have spent nearly 14 minutes inside the opposition’s 22 to just three minutes.
77.00: TRY! Marshall has a brace after breaking around the maul, fights through the tackles to reach out and score. Game over! 35-17
79.00: CONVERSION! Hunt lands another conversion for three out of seven. 37-17
81.00: A mistake in midfield leads to the last scrum of the game. Nothing comes from the attack.
The final score is Highlanders 37 (17) Moana Pasifika 17 (10)
Tries – Dawai (2), Makalio, Marshall (2), Fakatava
Pen – Hunt
Con – Hunt (2)
Tries – Aumua, Fainga’anuku
Pen – Leali’ifano
Con – Leali’ifano (2)
Cards – Poloniati (Yellow, 39′), Motuga (Yellow, 67′)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: Jono Bredin
TMO: Aaron Paterson
Highlanders: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Mosese Dawai, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Ethan De Groot.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Saula Ma’u, 19 Max Hicks, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Vilimoni Koroi, 23 Denny Solomona.
Moana Pasifika: 15 William Havili, 14 Tima Fainga’anuku, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Danny Toala, 11 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Penitoa Finau, 7 Alamanda Motuga, 6 Solomone Funaki, 5 Samuel Slade, 4 Veikoso Poloniati, 3 Sekope Kepu (captain), 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth.
Replacements: 16 Samiuela Moli, 17 Abraham Pole, 18 Chris Apoua, 19 Sione Tu’ipulotu, 20 Mahonri Ngakuru, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Lincoln McClutchie, 23 Fine Inisi.