Super Rugby

Highlanders beat Reds in Dunedin




The Highlanders kicked off their 2019 Super Rugby campaign with a 27-30 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton, so they already have some confidence and a game behind them.

The Queensland Reds will start their Super Rugby campaign after enjoying the much-needed bye-week.

Head Coach Brad Thorn is returning to Dunedin with his Queensland side, as they take on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Highlanders have won three of their last four games against the Reds, this after having lost their four games against them before this run.

  • The Reds have won just one of their last four season-openers (L3), scoring more than 20 points just once in this span.
  • The Highlanders will be out to avoid back-to-back losses to Australian-based teams for the first time since July 2014, after a quarter-finals defeat to the Waratahs last season.
  • The Reds were the only side to average fewer than 10 clean breaks per match last season in Super Rugby (9.5), they also averaged the fewest metres (388)
  • Josh Ioane landed six out of six kicks for the Highlanders in Round 1, only Handre Pollard (8/8) kicked more without missing on the opening weekend.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

We are waiting for the kickoff.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Dunedin.

2.00: PENALTY! Bryce Hagerty slots it between the uprights. 0-3

4.00: The Highlanders are inside the 22 and on the attack.

7.00: TRY! The Reds halt the driving maul, but the Ben Smith goes through a hole, and he puts away Rob Thompson for the try. 5-3

8.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 7-3

10.00: The Reds scrum has been good, however, the hosts are moving the Aussie forwards around the pitch; we’ll see what their fitness levels are like.

12.00: A couple of resets scrums.

15.00: Jordan Petaia is a lucky boy. He put out a hand and deliberately knocked down a pass. Had he not done so, the Highlanders had a three on one and would have had five.

17.00: PENALTY! Ioane makes no mistake. 10-3

18.00: Waisake Naholo is feeding off the crowd; they’re chanting his name as he goes up for a high ball, and wins the challenge.

19.00: Thompson takes a big hit, but the home team is pushing forward into the Reds’ 22.

20.00: A period of sustained pressure comes to nought. Thompson is being helped off the field after that solid hit by Sefa Naivalu. On comes Matt Faddes for the outside centre.

21.00: The Reds clear the danger through Moses Sorovi.

24.00: TRY! That was quick! Great work from the big ball carriers to set up Chris Feauai-Sautia. He takes Taniela Tupou’s (yes, a prop in the midfield) and breaks Tevita Li’s weak tackle and ghosts behind the posts. 10-8

24.00: CONVERSION! Hegarty levels the scores. 10-all

26.00: The Highlanders lose their second lineout in a row, but they regather the ball and are attacking inside the Reds’ half.

27.00: Faddes breaks into the 22 and gives a wonderful inside ball to a teammate, but the move breaks down. Penalty to the home team for offsides. They kick to the corner.

29.00: Aaron Smith thinks the try is scored, but the ref says no.

30.00: TRY! The assistant referee awards the try; he was in a better position than Federico Anselmi to see the ball being placed on the try-line by Shannon Frizell 15-10

31.00: CONVERSION! Ioane adds the extras; that’s nine from nine for the stand-off. 17-10

32.00: The home team are on the charge and back inside the opposition’s half.

33.00: TRY! Faddes breaks the line after taking Aaron Smith’s short ball. He goes through the Red wall, bounces a tackle, gets up and takes another. Somehow, he does not score, but the ball is recycled wide to the left. Ioane throws a beautiful long skip-pass to for Ben Smith to score. 22-10

34.00: CONVERSION! Ioane has not missed a beat. 24-10

35.00: The replay shows that Aaron Smith’s pass to Faddes was forward. That was unfortunate for the Reds, but they are huffing and puffing.

39.00: TRY! The Reds hit back through another lineout steal. Samu Kerevi takes crash ball up to the halfway line. Sorovi sends the ball right and the Reds take the ball through the hands to Naivalu. The winger throws a wonderful inside pass to his scrumhalf, who races away to score. 24-15

40.00: CONVERSION! Hegarty reduces the deficit. 24-17

The halftime score was Highlanders 24 Reds 17

The Reds did well to stay in the game with the Sorovi try just before the break. Brad Thorn’s men look tired, though. Maybe it’s a case of the early season lungs not providing enough oxygen to keep the legs going. The Reds looked tired in the last 10 minutes; we’ll see if they can keep the pace.

The Highlanders look good, especially Matt Faddes and the two Smiths, Ben and Aaron. There are a few more tries in this.

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Reds assistant coach Peter Ryan calls for composure from the team. He wants the Australians to use the ball better and stop kicking poor kicks to the Highlanders.

42.00: What is going on? Ryan has just said he spoke to the team about kicking poor kicks away. Another one leads to a penalty for the hosts. Ioane kicks to the corner.

43.00: TRY! It’s Frizell at the double. It came from a solid lineout. Luke Whitelock to the ball forward before Frizell powered his way over the line, albeit with the help of two teammates. 

44.00: MISS! What am I seeing? Ioane hits the posts after 10 from 10. 29-17

45.00: Frizell has three tries in less than 80 minutes so far this season. Talk about a good start.

46.00: After a long advantage – 11 phases after a break by Petaia – the Reds get a penalty for offsides and kick to the corner.

47.00: Oh dear, the Reds lose possession from the lineout and blow a good chance of points. Maybe they should have taken the points.

49.00: TRY! WOW! It’s end-to-end, Josh Dickson broke into the Reds 22 after Faddes contested Ioane’s high ball. Feauai-Sautia hit Walden, who is still down. The Reds win the ball and go all the way into the 22. Sorovi is having a game. The No 9 pops to Izack Rodda, on the charge, who barges over. Sensational score after an insane series of play. 29-22

50.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 29-24

51.00: Spare a thought for Rodda, whose father passed away two days’ ago. Our thoughts are with the Rodda family.

54.00: Hegarty kicks a bomb, which comes down behind the poles; surely that’s some sort of points? It does not matter, the Reds get the penalty and kick to the corner. They want seven.

55.00: Aaron Smith has been pinged. The Reds take it quickly, and continue to attack.

57.00: TRY! What a start to the career of Feao Fotuaika, who scores. Kerevi took the ball to the line, was tackled backwards, but the big men went to work and barged over. 29-all

58.00: CONVERSION! Hegarty puts the Reds ahead. 29-31

60.00: This is some game. The Reds, who looked out on their feet before the break, have surged back from 29-17 to have the lead.

62.00: It’s Champaign rugby in Dunedin; the Queensland side have upped the ante and are performing the old razzle-dazzle under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

65.00: The Highlanders look tired. They are giving away silly penalties and being dominated in the tight phases. Reds kick into the Reds half.

66.00: Not straight from Alex Mafi. The hooker releases the pressure valve for the home team.

70.00: The Reds are standing firm, the Highlanders are not handling the ball, well; they keep losing the ball in contact or through poor passing and catching.

73.00: TRY! Li makes the break, Faddes makes another break, setting up Ben Smith. The fullback is tackled short, but the ball is recycled and sent wide for Dillon Hunt to score. 34-31

75.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 36-31

77.00: The Highlanders look to close the game out.

79.00: Here we go. The Australians win a penalty and kick into the opposition’s half. It’s last chance saloon, now. It was Rodda who got his hands on the ball.

80.00: Not again! The Highlanders win the ball, Faddes kicks into the Reds 22. And yet again, the throw is overthrown by Mafi. Game over.


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

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The final score is Highlanders 36 (24) Reds 31 (17)


Tries – Thompson, Frizell (2), B. Smith, Hunt
Pen – J. Ioane
Con – J. Ioane (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Feauai-Sautia, Sorovi, Rodda, Fotuaika
Pen – Hegarty
Con – Hegarty (3), Stewart
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Glenn Newman


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Matt Faddes.

Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.

Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Isaac Lucas.

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