Crusaders beat Highlanders in Dunedin

The Highlanders will start their Super Rugby season at home against a Crusaders team that will be coming off a loss.

The Highlanders had a bye last week so this will be their first match of the new season

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick off.

Lima Sopoaga kicks off and we are underway. 

2.00: The Highlanders string a couple of phases together but then knock on. Crusaders scrum. 

4.00: Malakai Fekitoa has a run for the Highlanders and looks threatening. Both teams look like they want to run. 

5.00: Penalty to the Highlanders in their 22. They kick for touch. 

6.00: The Highlanders line out throw is long, The ball is lost to the Crusaders who counter attack. They kick to the Highlanders who counter attack (Ben Smith) who slips. The Highlanders keep the ball alive but then lose it forward. 

8.00: The Crusaders attack from a scrum. Slade slices through and the ball slips through two players and then goes wide to Robbie Fruean but he goes into touch. 

9.00: The Crusaders win the put in after a Highlanders line out and then win the line out and use the maul. They drive to the line and win a penalty. A bit of a fight breaks out. Ref says they won’t look further at the fight now but Owen Franks can expect to be cited later for punching. 

10.00: The Crusaders go from side to side on attack but then in front of the posts they knock on. 

12.00: After a few reset scrums the Highlanders win a free kick and tap it and run. They get the ball to the half way line and lose it forward. 

15.00: Penalty to the Crusaders for offside. They are looking to play the ball. 

16.00: Slade chooses to kick for posts even though it is well out. He nails it. Crusaders lead. 

18.00; The Highlanders attack as Ben Smith kicks and chases the ball. He is quickly upon Israel Dagg who has to take the ball out. 

19.00: The Highlanders win the line out and attack in the Crusaders 22. After a couple of flirts with the line from the Highlanders Aaron Smith dummies and slips into a gap and scores. TRY! 

20.00: Lima Sopoaga takes the conversion kick and he nails it. 

22.00: The Crusaders look to hit back straight away. The intensity in this match is huge. Dagg makes some ground with a run after a dummy and the Highlanders concede a penalty. 

23.00: Slade takes the penalty kick and nails it hits the post and bounces out. The Crusaders win the ball back and press the Highlanders back to the corner. We go over the line in the corner. The TMO is called in to check. No clear grounding. 5m scrum. 

26.00: The Crusaders win the scrum and put huge pressure on the Highlanders try line. They go over and the try is awarded to Scott Barrett. Replays show it looked a little short but the try is awarded. 

27.00: Slade slots the conversion and the Crusaders lead. Scott Barrett is Beauden Barrett’s brother. 

28.00: Oh wow. Lima Sopoaga gets the ball back from the restart and slips through the defence. The Highlanders follow up and Ross Geldenhuys scores. But wait, No try as there was a forward pass in there. 

30.00: The Crusaders win the scrum and attack. As they get over the half way line they seal off and concede a penalty. Sopoaga kicks for touch. 

33.00: The Crusaders win the ball back and attack. Dagg is stopped short of the line and the Crusaders recycle the ball. The Highlanders get caught offside so the Crusaders have a penalty 5m out. Slade will kick for posts. 

34.00: Slade slots the penalty.  

37.00: The Crusaders launch another attack at the Highlanders as Slade attacks from deep. The Crusaders work the ball to the line and they drive over the line but get held up. There is an injury or two so the game is paused. 

38.00: Crusaders have a 5m scrum. They win the scrum. Fruean attacks from the back of the scrum but he is caught. 

39.00: Ben Franks and Richie McCaw both go for the line but are stopped. 

40.00: The siren sounds as the Crusaders go wide and JJohnny McNicholl takes two players over and scores. TRY! 

41.00: Slade adds the conversion and its half time. 

The half time score was Highlanders 7 Crusaders 20

Colin Slade kicks off and we are underway with the second half. Israel Dagg has been replaced. 

41.00: Early penalty to the Highlanders for holding on. They kick for touch. They win the line out but Aaron Smith fumbles the ball so the Crusaders have a scrum. 

44.00: The Crusaders try to move the ball but Richie McCaw knocks on. 

48.00: Penalty to the Crusaders for not rolling away. Slade lines up and hits the post. Again. 

50.00: The Highlanders win a line out and attack on the half way line. The Crusaders push them wide to the touchline and then the Crusaders win a penalty. They take it quickly but get nowhere.  They get another 10m and this time Slade will kick for posts. 

51.00; Slade’s kick is huge and sails through. Highlanders change their front row. 

55.00: The Highlanders again give away a penalty for not rolling away. Slade lines up again. This one he misses. 

58.00: The Highlanders win a line out and attack the Crusaders but the final pass is way forward. Fumiaki Tanaka comes on for Aaron Smith. 

60.00: The Highlanders win a scrum in the Crusaders 22. They attack and get to the line. They go from side to side attacking and Fekitoa slips through and scores under the posts TRY! 

62.00: Sopoaga slots the conversion. 

64.00: Penalty to the Highlanders. There has been a clear momentum shift in this contest. 

66.00; Sopoaga will kick for posts. He misses. To the right. Distance was fine.

68.00: Penalty to the Higlanders. They kick for touch and the line out. Highlanders win the line out and move the ball to the other side but get pushed out. 

71.00: It’s all the Highlanders. They have the Crusaders under real pressure as they attack in the Saders 22. Penalty to the Highlanders. They will kick for posts. 

72.00: Sopoaga slots the penalty and cuts the gap a little more. 

76.00: The Highlanders have a scrum on their 22 line but it is battling to complete which eats up time. The Highlanders win a free kick. They run it. 

77.00: The Crusaders win a penalty after Joe Wheeler loses the ball. Slade slots the penalty. 

79.00: The Highlanders win a penalty in the corner. They will kick for posts and the bonus point. 

81.00: Sopoaga takes the kick and he nails it. 

The full time score is Highlanders 20 (7) Crusaders 26 (20)


Tries – A.Smith, M.Fekitoa 
Pen – L.Sopoaga 2
Con – L.Sopoaga 2
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – S.Barrett, J.McNicholl
Pen – C.Slade 4
Con – C.Slade 2
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Lash
Assistant Ref 2:Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri
TMO : Chris Wratt



1. Josh Hohneck , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Ross Geldenhuys , 4. Tom Franklin , 5. Joe Wheeler , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. John Hardie , 8. Nasi Manu ( c ) , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Shaun Treeby , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith ( c )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Kane Hames , 18. Ma’afu Fia , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Jason Emery , 23. Marty Banks


1 Wyatt Crockett, 2 Ben Funnell, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Luke Romano, 5 Scott Barrett ,6 Richie McCaw, 7 Matt Todd (c), 8 Luke Whitelock, 9 Mitchell Drummond,10 Colin Slade, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 12 Ryan Crotty, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 14 Robbie Fruean, 15 Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Dominic Bird , 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake

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