Highlanders too strong for blunt Blues in Auckland

    2018-04-20 11:23

    Auckland - A Shannon Frizell hat-trick inspired the Highlanders to an impressive 34-16 bonus-point victory over the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.

    As the scoreline suggests, the Dunedin-based outfit were full value for their win as they outscored the Blues five tries to two with Frizell leading the way with a brace of five-pointers in the opening half and another try in the second period.

    The result means the Highlanders provisionally move into third place in the New Zealand Conference standings while the Blues are still languishing at the bottom of the table.

    The Blues were under the cosh from the outset and conceded two tries inside the first five minutes.

    From the kick off, they were soon on the back foot deep inside their own 22m area and after just 38 seconds Dillon Hunt charged down a clearance kick from Bryn Gatland before diving on the ball behind the home side's tryline.

    Four minutes later, Frizell barged over from close range after the ball was taken through several phases in the build-up by the Highlanders forwards.

    Lima Sopoaga failed with the conversion attempt but after adding the extras to Hunt's try earlier on, the Highlanders had their tails up with the score 12-0 in their favour.

    To their credit, the Blues did not panic and after taking the ball through several phases, Jonathan Ruru saw a gap at a ruck before diving over for a deserved try in the ninth minute.

    The Blues continued to control proceedings for the next 15 minutes and were rewarded with two Gatland penalties during this period which meant the Highlanders held a slender 12-11 lead.

    However, the visitors finished the half stronger and in the 34th minute, Rob Thompson and Luke Whitelock combined brilliantly before Whitelock offloaded to Frizell, who went over in the left-hand corner.

    Sopoaga failed with the conversion attempt but slotted a penalty in the 39th minute which gave the Highlanders a 20-11 lead at half-time.

    The Highlanders were fastest out of the blocks after the restart and four minutes into the second half Frizell traded passes with Tevita Li before off-loading to Kane Hammington, who crossed for the Highlanders' fourth try.

    The visitors continued to dominate and Frizell crossed for his third try in the 57th minute after great work from Aaron and Ben Smith in the build-up.

    The Blues showed considerable improvement on attack during the final quarter but despite being rewarded with a consolation try from Tumua Manu in the 70th minute, the Highlanders held on for the victory and condemned the home side to their 15th successive defeat to a fellow New Zealand side.


    Blues 16 (11)

    Tries: Jonathan Ruru, Tumua Manu

    Penalties: Bryn Gatland (2)

    Highlanders 34 (20)

    Tries: Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell (3), Kayne Hammington

    Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (3)

    Penalty: Sopoaga



    15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Dalton Papali'i, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu

    Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Neenee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Matt Duffie


    15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    04 August 2018
    28 July 2018
    21 July 2018
    20 July 2018
    14 July 2018
    13 July 2018
    07 July 2018
    06 July 2018
    30 June 2018
    29 June 2018
    03 June 2018
    02 June 2018
    01 June 2018
    26 May 2018
    25 May 2018
    19 May 2018
    18 May 2018
    12 May 2018
    11 May 2018
    05 May 2018
    04 May 2018
    28 April 2018
    27 April 2018
    22 April 2018
    21 April 2018
    20 April 2018
    14 April 2018
    13 April 2018
    07 April 2018
    06 April 2018
    01 April 2018
    31 March 2018
    30 March 2018
    24 March 2018
    23 March 2018
    18 March 2018
    17 March 2018
    16 March 2018
    10 March 2018
    09 March 2018
    03 March 2018
    02 March 2018
    24 February 2018
    23 February 2018
    17 February 2018


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Lions (Q)
    • Jaguares (wc)
    • Sharks (wc)
    • Stormers
    • Bulls

    Opinion Poll

    Who will win the 2018 Rugby Championships?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.