The Highlanders have played the Waratahs 24 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Highlanders have won nine matches and lost 15 times.
The Highlanders’ nine wins give them a record of winning 38% of their matches against the Waratahs regardless of venue.
- New South Wales beat the Highlanders 30-23 in last year’s Super Rugby quarter-final at the Allianz Stadium.
- The Waratahs also picked up a 41-12 win over the Highlanders in their last regular season meeting in Super Rugby, snapping a three-game losing streak in such fixtures.
- The Highlanders have won their last four Super Rugby games on the bounce when hosting the NSW, despite trailing at half-time twice in that time.
- The Waratahs have won their last two games on the bounce away from home in Super Rugby; the last time they won more in succession was a three-game streak from March to April in 2016.
- Only the Hurricanes (5) have conceded fewer tries in the final 20 minutes of games this Super Rugby season than the Sydney side (7).
- Waisake Naholo has been directly involved in five tries (3 tries, 2 try assists) in his last five Super Rugby games against the Tahs and has crossed for three tries in his last two Super Rugby games.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Liam Coltman walks out with his daughter in arms for his 100th Super Rugby game.
In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway for the final round of the regular Super Rugby season at Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill.
2.00: Lots of kicking, early on in Invercargill. The ground is dry because the forecast rain did not come to pass. Both teams did not want to kick out, but eventually, the Waratahs get the throw on their 10m.
3.00: Tevita Li is impeded in the air, claiming a high ball, and the Highlanders get a penalty. Josh Ioane sets up a lineout on halfway.
4.00: Accidental offside goes against the Tahs. Ioane kicks to the 22.
5.00: Superb counter-attack by the Waratahs sets up a lineout for the Landers, just outside their 22.
7.00: TRY! OH DEAR! Will Miller gets back to clean up the bouncing ball, but he drops the ball in contact with Josh McKay, who picks up the ball, and scores. Very poor by Miller! 5-0
9.00: CONVERSION! Ioane adds the extras. 7-0
10.00: TRY! Li beats a tackler and scores in the corner. Teihorangi Walden won the turnover and sent the ball to Naholo. The winger was tackled inside the 22, the ball was sent wide to the left wing for Li. 12-0
12.00: CONVERSION! Ioane kicks another touchline conversion. 14-0
13.00: Mack Mason’s restart is dotted down in the in-goal; Luke Whitelock opts for a centre-field scrum.
16.00: The Landers are on the charge and back into the Tahs’ 22. Walden goes right, the ball is recycled patiently to James Lentjes.
17.00: Li has a go; he’s tackled short. Aaron Smith and Whitelock’s carries take the attack to 12 phases. Highlanders slowing down, but they still have the ball.
18.00: Iaone goes close. McKay slings a pass to Naholo, but the big man is stopped short.
19.00: TRY! Tom Franklin finishes off the move Liam Squire started. The attack went left to right and left again, the ball recycled 19 times until the visitors ran out of defenders. 19-0
20.00: CONVERSION! Ioane slots another. 21-0
23.00: The Highlanders maul their way towards the line.
24.00: TRY! Coltman and Franklin go close before Nahilo bounces off Adam Ashley-Cooper to score the home side’s fourth, and his 45th Super Rugby try. 26-0
25.00: CONVERSION! Ioane slots the easy kick. 28-0
27.00: This game is as good as over.
28.00: Iaone is isolated, loses the ball, and the Tahs go wide. Curtis Rona is tackled, gets to his feet and releases before sending Alex Newsome away. 28-5
29.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 28-7
32.00: It’s all Highlanders, still.
34.00: Penalty to the hosts after Newsome plays the ball on the ground. The Landers kick to the corner.
35.00: PENALTY TRY! Tom Robertson comes in from the side and collapses the driving maul, illegally. Ned Hanigan also came in from the side, too. 35-7
36.00: YELLOW CARD! Robertson is sent to the sin-bin for his efforts. Game over! 35-7
37.00: Mason kicks another restart too long. Scrum on halfway for the hosts.
39.00: TRY! Teihorangi Walden is not held in the tackle, gets up and scores. 40-7
40.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 42-7
The halftime score was Highlanders 42 Waratahs 7
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Rugby Park.
43.00: A bit of a messy start to the second half with both teams knocking on.
46.00: The Highlanders win a scrum-penalty and kick to the 22.
47.00: The Tahs earn a reprieve after Franklin’s forward pass kills another attack.
50.00: The hosts have a scrum on their 10m.
51.00: Newsome fumbles Smith’s kick and is lucky to not have knocked the ball forward. The Highlanders win back possession at the breakdown, but the Tahs get the penalty for a ruck infringement inside their 22 by their hosts.
53.00: Lineout to the visitors on the Landers’ 22.
56.00: Another Waratahs’ knock on kills an attack. That’s nine for the evening, already.
59.00: The game has stopped because of a pitch-invader; it brings the loudest cheer of the second half, to be fair because the game is a non-event.
60.00: Gibson’s men have done well to stem the tide in the third quarter, not conceding a point after the break.
62.00: Another kicking duel takes place.
64.00: Another knock on kills the Tahs.
67.00: The Highlanders have possession and are rumbling up the field. The ball is turned over and Rona begins a counter-attack into the opposition’s 22.
68.00: Rob Thompson gets penalised for a dangerous tip-tackle on Harry Johnson-Holmes, but the centre is still on the field after the TMO replay. The Tahs kick to the corner.
69.00: Whitelock is offside, but the visitors have the advantage as they edge towards the whitewash. The attack breaks down and the penalty is brought back for a scrum inside the 22.
72.00: TRY! Mason scores after a sublime counter-attack. The Highlanders won possession and kick down the field. The Tahs ran the ball back, Naholo jumped the line and missed the interception. A three on two became a three on one, and Mason took the gift. 42-12
73.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 42-12
76.00: Thompson thinks he’s scored, but the centre knocked on the bouncing ball.
79.00: The Highlanders almost cross, but are kept at bay.
80.00: TRY! Thompson races away to the delight of the crowd. He ran sideways looking for a gap before cutting inside Miller and running away to finish the game on a high note. 47-12.
81.00: CONVERSION! Elliot Dixon slots the last kick. 49-12
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The final score is Highlanders 49 (42) Waratahs 12 (7)
Tries – McKay, Li, Franklin, Naholo, Penalty try, Walden, Thompson
Con – Ioane (5), E. Dixon
Tries – Newsome, Mason
Con – Mason
Cards – Robertson (Yellow, 36′)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: James Munro
TMO: Glenn Newman
15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Elliot Dixon.
15 Alex Newsome, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Mack Mason, 9 Nick Phipps (captain), 8 Hugh Sinclair, 7 Will Miller, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Tautalatasi Tasi.