Crusaders stage thrilling comeback to beat Highlanders
PRE-SEASON REPORT: The Crusaders edged the Highlanders 28-26 after a massive second-half comeback at Temuka Rugby Football Club on Friday.
The Highlanders went into the half-time break leading 26-0 before things turned around in the second half.
With just over a minute left on the clock Crusaders flank Sione Havili crashed over for a try with Brett Cameron slotting the winning conversion.
The Highlanders had a chance to win the game at the end, but Caleb Makene’s 40-metre penalty was unsuccessful with time up on the clock.
Liam Coltman scored two tries for the Highlanders in the game with the other scores coming from Jona Nareki and Ngane Punivai.
In the second half, Timoci Tavatavanawai scored two tries for the Crusaders with Fletcher Newell also getting a score before Havili’s winner.
Tries: Timoci Tavatavanawai 2, Fletcher Newell, Sione Havili
Cons: Brett Cameron 4
Tries: Liam Coltman 2, Jona Nareki, Ngane Punivai
Cons: Mitch Hunt 3
First half: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Ngatungane Punivai, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt (captain), 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Hugh Renton, 5 Jack Regan, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman (captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Second half: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Freedom Vahaakolo, 13 Michael Collins (captain), 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Scott Gregory, 10 Caleb Makene, 9 Kayne Hammington/James Arscott, 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 7 Sean Withy, 6 Sione Misiloi, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 3 Jermain Ainsley, 2 Ricky Jackson, 1 Ethan De Groot.
First half: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Chay Fihaki, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Isaiah Punivai, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Fergus Burke, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas (captain), 7 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Will Tucker, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 Isileli Tuungafasi.
Second half: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 Tim O’Malley, 11 Tomas Aoake, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Brendon O’Connor, 7 Sione Havili, 6 Anton Segner, 5 Zach Gallagher, 4 Luke Romano (captain), 3 Oliver Jager, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Tamaiti Williams.
Replacements: Siua Maile, Fletcher Newell, Mahonri Ngakuru, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.