Vodacom SR: Higlanders 35, Hurricanes 31


imagesThese two sides have shown promise, only glimpses, but still did enough to suggest they could be major threats.

However, neither has been consistent enough to stay with the pace set at the top of the standings. The Hurricanes play their first match of the season against New Zealand opposition, still fresh from their emphatic 60-27 win over the Cheetahs last Saturday. Hunting their second win of the competition, the Hurricanes will face a Highlanders team in a desperate mood after the latter fell to the Western Force in their previous match. The Highlanders go into the fourth match of their campaign, and third at home, with just a solitary win to their credit – against the Blues in round one (29-21).

They also lost by two points to the Chiefs in Hamilton (19-21) and have played one fewer game than the Hurricanes, owing to their first bye before the Force match. Some key players in the Highlanders side will be No.8 Nasi Manu, scrumhalf Aaron Smith, midfielders Shaun Treeby and Malakai Fekitoa, and fullback Ben Smith. Hard-running Manu will help provide go-forward and physicality for the Highlanders, against the Hurricanes who attacked the contact situations with purpose against the Cheetahs. In contrast, the Highlanders were lacklustre in this area against the Force and Jamie Joseph’s men won’t be off the pace two weeks in a row.

All Black scrumhalf Smith will provide energy to the Highlanders’ dangerous midfield liaison of Wellington’s Shaun Treeby and Auckland’s Malakai Fekitoa, while fullback Ben Smith is their talisman at the back. For the Hurricanes, Julian Savea and Beauden Barrett are two Hurricanes players who could cause problems for the home side based on form and history at this ground. Hooker Ged Robinson believes the Highlanders have learned from their indecision against the Force and will bring a tougher attitude to Dunedin on Friday.

Robinson was one of the few players to enhance his reputation when he replaced Liam Coltman in the second half against the Force last Saturday. He said hard lessons had been absorbed since their 29-31 loss to the West Australians, when they couldn’t capitalise despite the Force being down to 13 players for the last eight minutes. “We discussed it and we realise there was some wasted time,” Robinson told NZ Newswire. “We’ve put in place a plan that there will be one player delegated to make decisions in the future.

“Some of us chipped in and we probably shouldn’t have. It’s about making the decisions, backing them and going for it. We’re a fairly new team this year and we’re learning from our mistakes. Our attitude wasn’t as good as it had been.”

Recent results:
2013: Highlanders won 49-44, Wellington
2013: Hurricanes won 23-19, Dunedin
2012: Hurricanes won 26-20, Dunedin
2012: Highlanders won 19-17, Wellington
2011: Highlanders won 13-6, Invercargill
2011: Highlanders won 14-9, Wellington


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Chris King, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Shaun Treeby.

Hurricanes: 15 Marty Banks, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Jack Lam, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson/Adam Hill, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Andre Taylor.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Watt (New Zealand)

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Hurricanes work their way to the Highlanders 22 but just to lose the ball in contact and take quick penalty tap….

    Still not getting through defence of Highlanders …. but gets another penalty and again getting held up on the goal line it looks but ref is going to TMO……

    TRY Hurricanes !!!!!Finally

    Ben Franks getting over for the Hurricanes

    Score Update: Highlanders 35, Hurricanes 19

  2. Hurricanes grid their way back to the gaol line and again the referee give a penalty against them on the Highlanders goal line for holding on….

    Just no way through at this stage for Hurricanes..

    10 min left Score: Highlanders 35 Hurricanes 19

  3. Highlanders now back in Hurricanes 22 on attack….

    TRY Hurricanes!!!

    Highlanders try for drop goal and Hurricanes came back from try line and goes through the defence and Barrett score for Hurricanes with 5 min to go


    Score: Highlanders 35, Hurricanes 26 with 5 min to go

  4. Hurricanes try their best but lost the ball in the tackle and the Highlanders take this game with 35-31, Hurricanes gets 1 points out of it for getting within 7 points..

    23 penalties conceded in this game

    Hurricanes had done all the hard work in the second half as they had 670 meters run in the game against the 406 from the Highlanders.

    Hurricanes also beaten the defence 27 times against the 17 times of the Highlanders.

    Highlanders made 187 tackles against the 82 from the Hurricanes

    Handling errors cost Hurricanes with 13 against the 7 of the Highlanders. The problem for the Hurricanes was that their errors happened in crucial stages in the game.

    Great game