'Landers outclass Hurricanes in Dunedin
SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT: The Highlanders celebrated their second consecutive victory with an impressive 30-14 win over the Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The Highlanders have moved up to third place in the NZ Conference on 40 points, pending on the Chiefs’ results against the Crusaders.
While for the Hurricanes this is a horrendous result as they head into June break on the back of two consecutive defeats.
The Highlanders played at high tempo and outscored the Hurricanes four tries to two.
Tevita Li, Aaron Smith, Tyrel Lomax and Waisake Naholo scored the Highlanders’ tries while flyhalf Lima Sopoaga contributed two conversions and two penalties with the boot.
There wasn’t much in the match until the 37th minute with the Hurricanes up 5-3 through a well-worked set-piece try to Jordie Barrett.
It looked like Jordie Barrett had run away for his second try before the TMO checked on an infringement a number of phases earlier.
After a lengthy stoppage, the TMO recommended a yellow card for a Liam Squire swinging arm but couldn’t get a clear view on what looked to be a retaliatory strike by Julian Savea.
The try was overturned, but the Highlanders still felt aggrieved to have conceded a yellow card while Julian Savea went unpunished for his part in the scuffle.
With a man down the Highlanders produced a brilliant passage of play and ended the half in spectacular fashion. Showing remarkable ball control, the Highlanders kept hold of the ball until the 44th minute when Tevita Li, who combined with Aaron Smith, went over out wide.
In the second half, Highlanders continued their relentless attack. Ben Smith, who was impressive throughout the encounter, punished an aimless Hurricanes kick early in the second half to set up Aaron Smith for a try.
The Hurricanes answered back soon after when Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea caught the Highlanders defence napping from a quick line-out to set Jeffery Toomaga-Allen for the five-pointer.
Beauden Barrett continued his great form from the tee this year with a conversion from the side line to take a 14-13 lead.
But it was to be the Highlanders game as they took control of the final quarter with Aaron Smith ensuring the game was played at pace and lock Tom Franklin getting through a mountain of work in the tight passages.
Aaron Smith laid on yet another try-assist this season when he put prop Tyrel Lomax over for his first Super Rugby try before the Highlanders put the game out of reach in the 68th minute.
In a true team try the Highlanders forwards and backs combined with a succession of slick passes to create room for Waisake Naholo who had too much pace for the cover defence.
The Highlanders have now won 12 straight at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Man of the match: For the Hurricanes Brad Shields and Ardie Savea were the two standout performers. For Hurricanes Ben Smith, Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoage outplayed their counterparts, while Liam Squire’s yellow card was the only flaw in his match. However, for his overall impeccable performance, our man of the match goes to Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo.
Tries: Li, A Smith, Lomax, Naholo
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Tries: J Barrett. Toomaga-Allen
Cons: B Barrett 2
Yellow card: Liam Squire (Hurricanes, 37 – Dangerous tackle)
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita/Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey and Mike Lash
TMO: Aaron Paterson
Source: @Allblacks & @rugby365com
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