FULL-TIME: HIGHLANDERS 24-24 BULLS! Another draw in this year's competition as nothing separates the sides at the Forsyth Barr Stadium which isn't a great result for either team.
The Highlanders win it back but only momentarily before the Bulls have it. The Highlanders win the ball back but Smith throws a forward pass.
The Highlanders lose the ball in contact and the Bulls try to attack but the Highlanders turn it over. They go on the attack but the ball is left behind and the Bulls go on the attack.
The Bulls knock the ball on and the Highlanders will now have two minutes to try win it.
McKay knocks the ball on and Bulls have a scrum on the halfway line.
CONVERSION, BULLS, POLLARD! 24-24: Pollard brings the scores level with a simple conversion.
TRY, BULLS, VISAGIE! 24-22: Finally the Bulls get some reward. They went through lots of phases before Visagie finally cuts through the line and goes over.
Another reset. it's been 10 minutes since the first 5m scrum and that period has been characterized by reset upon reset. The Bulls finally get the ball out but with no advantage, they go back for a penalty at the scrum
After a decent line-out the Bulls get over but Angus Gardner says it's held up and we have another scrum.
The Bulls finally win a penalty at the scrum and have a big decision to make. They turn down the scrum and go for the line-out.
After a few resets the Bulls get to the line but it is held up and it will be another 5m scrum.
Close for the Bulls! A set move by the Highlanders doesn't work out as Kotze hacks the ball forward and its a straight out foot race which Ioane wins coming from the other side. he can't control it but Naholo dots down for a Bulls 5m scrum.
The Bulls win a scrum on the halfway but Roussow knocks it on which almost allows the Highlanders the chance to hit but the pass was forward and play resumes with a Highlanders scrum.
PENALTY, BULLS, POLLARD! 24-17: Easy as you like as Pollard reduces the deficit to seven points.
The Bulls win a penalty inside the Highlanders 22m after an offside against Whitelock. Pollard will have a shot at goal.
Ioane misses the conversion.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, NAHOLO! 24-14: After an immense scrum, the Highlanders go wide with an advantage and a cut out pass to Naholo sees the big winger stroll forward.
Li makes a brilliant driving run that gets him all the way to the try line. On field decision is a try.
No try as the ball was touched down by a Bulls player first which means the Highlanders will have a 5m scrum.
The Highlanders get up the field and the grubber ahead comes off Pollard and back to the Highlanders who win a scrum inside the Bulls half. The Bulls now have a new front row so the scrum should be interesting.
The Bulls struggle to get over the advantage line on attack before a knock on gives the Highlanders a scrum. A substitution for the Highlanders as Squire departs the season and Frizell is on for him.
The Highlanders win the ball inside their 22m and they try to play it out before Li makes a good break but loses the ball forward. Naholo finds an intercept but there was a knock on advantage which is a get out of jail free card for Highlanders.
The Highlanders clear well before a good Bulls line-out gets them some momentum on the attack and they get into the Highlanders 22m.
The Highlanders lose the ball forward before Pollard finds touch brilliantly to find the corner. Highlanders will have a 5m line-out to defend.
The Bulls retain possession after the kick off. After a few phases, Papier kicks deep before Ioane sets the Highlanders on the attack. Thompson pins Pollard back who then finds touch.
Kick off! The second half is underway! Change at hooker for the Bulls after Brits failed his HIA which means Visagie is on the pitch.
The Highlanders gain some good territory before the Bulls knock it on in the tackle. The Highlanders will have a final scrum inside the Bulls half as the hooter sounds.
The Highlanders win a free-kick and Li takes the ball into contact. After a few scrappy phases, the ball comes back to Li who gets them back to the 5m before a knock sees the referee blow the whistle for half-time.
HALF-TIME: HIGHLANDERS 19-14 BULLS! An end to a pulsating half. Both teams looking exciting on the attack and the Highlanders have the advantage at the break but the Bulls very much still in it.
CONVERSION, BULLS, POLLARD! 19-14: Another quick conversion from the Springbok flyhalf as the Bulls get within a converted try's distance.
TRY, BULLS, JENKINS! 19-12: The Bulls hit back immediately. The Bulls win possession and Odendaal makes a great break and after Gqoboka drove it up, Jenkins spotted a half gap and went over.
CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, IOANE! 19-7: This time no mistake from the flyhalf as he brings up 100 points for the season.
The Highlanders set up a maul and Nyakane is penalized for collapsing. The Highlanders kick deeper into the Bulls half and get to the 22m line.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, MCKAY! 17-7: McKay gets his second! Thompson gets through a gap with a nice turn of pace before popping to McKay who runs it in.
A poor line-out from the bulls before Liebenberg is penalized for playing the ball on the ground.
After some turnovers, the Highlanders slow things down and consolidate. They knock the ball on and Pollard kicks deep. Li goes back to clean up and kicks it out on the full.
CONVERSION, BULLS, POLLARD! 12-7: No nonsense as Pollard converts quickly.
TRY, BULLS, ROUSSOW! 12-5: The Bulls win possession and kick ahead and the bounce of the ball takes Naholo out the game as Roussow picks up and runs the ball over.
The Bulls win a scrum off the kick-off and go on the attack before the Highlanders rip the ball and clear downfield. Kotze takes the ball into contact and the Highlanders win a penalty at the breakdown shortly after.
Ioane can't curl the conversion effort enough as he misses to the right.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, NAHOLO! 12-0: With the Bulls scrambling, Thompson chips ahead and Naholo follows up to gather and dive over!
Papier kicks to the Highlanders who attack the Bulls line and get inside the Bulls half through Thompson. the Bulls win possession and kick ahead but the Highlanders return with interest as they get into the 22m.
The Highlanders lose the ball on the attack and after a few kicks, Pollard takes the ball into touch where he loses it. Hendricks is picked out inside his 22m by the Highlanders and takes it into contact.
Mckay gets driven back by the Bulls, the Highlanders eventually clear before the Bulls go on the attack through Brits but the Bulls lose the ball. The Highlanders kick to the Bulls before Rossouw finds touch.
The Highlanders exit strategy is good as they get the ball up just before the 10m line. Bulls with a good set piece opportunity.
The Bulls set up the maul before Brits goes on a great run and is brought down within inches of the line. They recycle and Jenkins go over. The referee awards the try but the TMO gets involved after spotting a knock on and the Highlanders survive.
CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, IOANE! 7-0: A good kick from Ioane as the Highlanders take an early lead.
The Bulls win a penalty immediately from the kick-off and they opt for the line-out.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, MCKAY! 5-0: Terrible mistake from Sage as he can't gather the kick behind by Smith and Mckay is there to pounce as he collects and dots down.
The Bulls look to spread wide but the Highlanders rush defence forces a forward pass.
A rare mistake from Smith as he kicks into touch on the full to gift the Bulls a lineout inside the Highlanders half.
The Highlanders attack from the line-out but once again the Bulls turn it over and Pollard finds a good clearance.
Pollard can't find touch and the Highlanders try to counter-attack before Tomkinson knocks the ball forward.
The Bulls get up to the halfway but the Highlanders win a penalty at the breakdown.
The Highlanders knock the ball on following the line-out and the Bulls have the first scrum and they win a penalty from it.
Smith takes the penalty and the Highlanders get up towards the 5m line before the Bulls turn it over and Pollard finds touch just outside the 22m.
The Bulls gather and kick downfield which allows the Highlanders to attack. Thompson does well to stay inside the field and the Highlanders then win an early penalty.
Kick off! Play underway at the Forsyth Barr Stadium!
Hello and welcome to the opening clash of the 17th round of the 2019 Super Rugby as the Highlanders host the Bulls.
Highlanders – 15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (c), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joshua Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen
Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw , 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handré Pollard (c) , 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Johan Grobbelaar, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 JT Jackson.
The Bulls have made five changes as Handre Pollard returns to the team. With Gelant and Specman ruled out, Divan Rossouw starts while Jonny Kotze moves to the wing. Dyland Sage starts at outside centre.
For the Highlanders, All Black Liam Squire will make his first Super Rugby appearance this year whilst the team is also bolstered by the presence of Josh Ioane, Jackson Hemopo and Tevita Li. Josh McKay starts at fullback.
The Bulls are coming off a 22-10 loss at the hands of the Brumbies while the Highlanders are coming off consecutive losses to the South African opponents as they went down to the Lions and Stormers in South Africa.
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