Nonu stars in Highlanders win

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 12:13

Ma’a Nonu starred on debut as the Highlanders beat the Crusaders 38-21 in their pre-season friendly in Oamaru on Friday.

The former Blues star marked his first appearance for the Highlanders with a try and had good synergy with Phil Burleigh in midfield.

The All Black centre was influential in his 65-minute showing while fellow new recruits Tony Woodcock and Brad Thorn played 50 and 60 minutes respectively.

The Crusaders rested key players like Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Sam Whitelock and Owen Franks.

Nonu drew first blood for the Highlanders and fullback Buxton Popoali'i dotted down the second try to give them a 12-0 lead.

The Crusaders responded well with a brace by Luke Romano but Hosea Gear had the final say in the first half, his try giving the hosts a 19-14 half-time lead.

The second half belonged to the Highlanders with Hayden Parker scoring a double and Lima Sopoaga getting in on the act.

Kieran Fonotia scored a consolation try for the Crusaders.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Nonu, Popoali'i, Gear, Parker 2, Sopoaga
Cons: Sopoaga 2, Parker 2

For Crusaders:
Romano 2, Fonotia
Cons: Taylor 2, Bleyendaal


Highlanders: 15 Buxton Popoali’i, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear (captain) , 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements - from: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby, Frae Wilson, Hugh Blake, Liam Coltman, Tom Franklin, Paul Grant, Jamie Mackintosh, Bronson Murray.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Israel Dagg, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Pa'ea Fa'anunu, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements - from: Tyler Blyendaal, Matt Todd, Kieran Fonotia, George Whitelock, Mitch Graham, Joel Everson, .Telusa Veainu, Robbie Fruean, Willi Heinz, Jeremy Su'a, Jimmy Tupou, Joe Moody, Adrian Barone, Codie Taylor.

Date: Friday, February 8
Venue: Whitestone Contracting Stadium, Oamaru
Kick-off: 16.30 (-3.30 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson