Last-gasp Highlanders edge Waratahs

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:17
Large israel folau v highlanders 2017 800

PRE-SEASON REPORT: A last-gasp penalty helped the Highlanders beat the Waratahs 50-47 in a thrilling pre-season encounter in Brookvale on Thursday.

The margin blew out to as much as 22 in the 37th minute, as a sharp Highlanders side stacked with All Blacks piled on four tries to one.
 
In a seesawing final five minutes, the lead changed more times than it had in the rest of the game, but a penalty to Fletcher Smith put the Kiwis in front when the dust settled.

It took less than two minutes for the Highlanders to get the early edge, with Liam Squire finishing a Naholo break on the right edge before the hulking wing set in motion an Aaron Smith try under the posts.

Waratahs wing Reece Robinson took the primary kicking duties, even with Bernard Foley in the starting side, and had no shortage of shots either, booting seven from nine.

The Waratahs came back with a bit more bite after the first interval, Harry Jones scoring in the 24th minute, after an attack sparked by captain Michael Hooper, a man who ignited most Waratahs' opportunities.

Their positivity didn't last long, with Highlanders fullback Ben Smith crossing in the 32nd minute to stretch out the margin.

It took until the shadows of half-time for the Waratahs to clinch another try, a pushover through Tolu Latu, after a Hooper break, chase and tackle put them in attacking territory.

The Highlanders made mass changes at the major break, while the Waratahs stuck with much of their starting line-up, a move that opened the game up, though the Highlanders struck first in the second half.

Taqele Naiyaravoro added the Waratahs' third and the first of his two for the day, as the Waratahs chanced their arm more.

Rookie centre Irae Simone nabbed a highlight just on the second drinks break, slipping through the Highlanders defence, before Naiyaravoro added another, making the gap just three points, before Robinson's penalty.

A Robinson regather and grubber ended in what looked like a forward pass, but former Sevens representative Con Foley finished it off before the Highlanders hit back through Rob Thompson.
 
Fletcher Smith took their only penalty shot of the day after full-time and slotted it with ease, to give the Highlanders the win.

The scorers:
 
For Waratahs:
Tries: Naiyaravoro 2, Jones, Latu, Simone, Foley
Cons: Robinson 4 
Pens: Robinson 3

Highlanders: 
Tries: B Smith 2, A Smith, Squire, Naholo, Hammington, Thompson 
Cons: Sopoaga 4, F Smith 2
Pen: F Smith

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Harry Jones, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: Hugh Roach, Paddy Ryan, David Lolohea, Sam Needs, David McDuling, Nick Phipps, Matt Lucas, David Horwitz, Senio Toleafoa, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Ned Hanigan, Brad Wilkin, Maclean Jones, Con Foley, Bryce Hegarty, Andrew Deegan/Mack Mason.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: Aki Seiuli, Craig Millar, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Guy Millar, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Matt Faddes, Pat Osborne, Jason Emery.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Edward Martin (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19