Highlanders crush Crusaders in Dunedin
Cape Town - The Highlanders kept their hopes of defending their Vodacom Super Rugby title alive with an impressive bonus-point victory over the Crusaders in Dunedin on Friday.
As it happened: Highlanders v Crusaders
The Highlanders won 34-26 after leading 20-12 at half-time.
The Highlanders scored five tries through a brace each from wing Waisake Naholo and centre Matt Faddes, and a try by replacement loose forward Liam Squire. Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was on target with three conversions and a penalty.
The Crusaders replied with tries by flank Jordan Taufua and fullback Israel Dagg. Flyhalf Richie Mo'unga chipped in with both conversions and four penalties.
The Highlanders picked up a full-house of five points for their victory, and moved into a three-way tie atop the New Zealand Conference alongside the Crusaders and Chiefs.
The defeat saw the Crusaders leave empty-handed and ended an eighth-match win streak by the seven-time champions.
In next weekend's Round 13 action, the Highlanders have a bye, while the Crusaders welcome the Waratahs to Christchurch (Friday, May 20 at 09:35 SA time).
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks 23 Teihorangi Walden
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Jone Macilai, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Tim Boys, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Marty McKenzie