Brumbies too strong for struggling Highlanders

The Brumbies bounced back from their draw with the Southern Kings by comfortably beating the Highlanders 19-30 in Dunedin.

The Brumbies victory provisionally moves them back to the top of the Super Rugby standings while the Highlanders remain at the bottom of the standings.

The result is the Highlanders seventh straight loss this season after having been tipped for the play offs in the pre-season due to their new player signings.

The Brumbies impressed early in the season but after their hammering of the Sharks they looked to have lost their way and last week drew with Super Rugby’s newcomers the Southern Kings at home in Canberra.

Last week’s draw was clearly the shock Jake White’s Brumbies needed as the only negative in their performance against the Highlanders was they that failed to score the fourth try for a bonus point.

The Brumbies opened the scoring when winger Herny Speight crossed for the first
try of the match in the third minute.

Christian Lealiifano the try for the Brumbies and then added a penalty taking
them to a 0-10 lead after six minutes.

However at the end of the first quarter the Highlanders must have sensed they
had a chance to break their duck as they trailed by one point at 9-10.

But it was the Brumbies who stepped up a gear to erase the bleak memories hanging
around from last week’s 28-all draw with competition newcomers Southern Kings.

By half-time they had eased away to a 17-12 lead and piled on a further 13
unanswered points in the second spell before Aaron Smith scored a consolation
try for the Highlanders in the closing minutes.

Brumbies kicker Christian Lealiifano, the most prolific points scorer in Super
rugby so far this year, landed three conversions and two penalties for a match
tally of 12 points, taking him to 99 for the season.

The Highlanders had a malfunctioning lineout to blame for igniting both Brumbies
tries in the first half.

A deep kick from a lineout turnover in the opening minute was spilled by Hosea
Gear returning the ball back to the Brumbies, whose try-scoring ace Henry Speight
scored in the corner.

Another lost lineout in the 30th minute allowed the Brumbies to pressure the
Highlanders down the left-hand touch, which resulted in a try to George Smith.

Lealiifano converted both and added a penalty while Hayden Parker kept the
Highlanders in the hunt with four penalties.

With a long-range penalty option on offer soon after the start of the second
half, scrum-half Nic White took over the kicking duties and earned three points
for the Brumbies from 50-metres out.

Lealiifano resumed the kicking with a close range penalty and the conversion
of a try by Joe Tomane, which again originated from turnover ball.

Highlanders outside centre Phil Burleigh lost possession in a crunching tackle
by his opposite Andrew Smith and Tomane was on hand to gather up the ball and
sprint 55 metres unopposed to the line.

The Brumbies now return to Australia to play the bReds in Brisbane next Saturday
while the Highlanders are away to their neighbouring rivals the Crusaders.

Final Score Highlanders 19 (12) Brumbies 30 (17)

Scorers

Highlanders
Tries -A.Smith
Pen – H.Parker 4
Con – H.Parker
Drop –
Cards –

Brumbies
Tries – H. Speight, G. Smith, J.Tomane
Pen – C.Lealiifano 2, N White
Con – C. Lealiifano 3
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee
: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2:Garratt Williamson
TMO : Keith Brown

Teams

Highlanders

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