Highlanders stay unbeaten, sink Crusaders
Cape Town - The Highlanders maintained their unbeaten start to the 2018 Super Rugby season with a thrilling victory over the Crusaders under the roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.
As it happened: Highlanders v Crusaders
The Highlanders won 25-17 after leading 14-10 at half-time.
The Highlanders scored three tries through hooker Liam Coltman, flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and replacement loose forward Elliot Dixon.
Sopoaga, who did his All Black aspirations no harm with another assured performance, added two conversions and two penalties for a personal haul of 15 points.
The Crusaders slipped to a second consecutive defeat after last weekend's reverse against the Hurricanes, replied with two tries by wing George Bridge and replacement scrumhalf Bryn Hall. Flyhalf Mitch Hunt landed both conversions and a penalty.
The Highlanders picked up four points for their victory and moved to the top of the ultra-competitive New Zealand Conference and third in the Overall standings.
The Crusaders left empty-handed and slipped to third and fifth in the New Zealand Conference and Overall log, respectively.
In next weekend's Round 6 action, the Highlanders travel to Wellington for a humdinger of a derby against the Hurricanes (Saturday, March 24 at 08:35 SA time), while the Crusaders host the Bulls in Christchurch (Friday, March 23 at 08:35 SA time)
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake
Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9
Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom
Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18
Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne
Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes
David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11
George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7
Matt Todd (captain), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Scott
Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20
Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Manasa Mataele