The Highlanders powered their way back from a 19-5 deficit after 20 minutes to defeat last season’s Vodacom Super 14 finalists, the Chiefs, 31-24 in a pre-season game on Saturday.
In warm conditions, and with substitutions playing a major part in the Dunedin pre-season match, the Highlanders scored 14 points in the final quarter to claim the match.
The match was played in quarters, and while the result is without consequence, there will be worries over the injury to Highlanders No.8 Nasi Manu, who left the field clutching his shoulder.
The Chiefs surged out in the opening minutes with hooker Aled de Malmanche scoring their first try for 2010, followed by tries from winger Jason Hona and prop Hikairo Forbes.
The Highlanders scored through winger James Paterson, who joined them this season from Canterbury, while halfback Sean Romans crossed in the second quarter.
The youngest member of the Chiefs, 20 year-old fullback Tim Nanai-Williams scored a try for the Chiefs in the third quarter.
Flanker John Hardie and prop Bronson Murray scored in the final quarter to give the Highlanders the game.