Highlanders take Force apart

Sat, 20 May 2017 11:00

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Highlanders ended their tour on a high note when they thrashed the Western Force 55-6 in Perth on Saturday.

The New Zealanders made it eight straight wins, and nine from 12 matches overall this season, by running in eight unanswered tries as they push towards the play-offs.

It was a horror show for the Force, who are living on Super Rugby's death row, and were never in the hunt as Australia's drought against New Zealand teams in 2017 continued.

At one stage the Force were down two men with a pair of players in the sin bin, and they were simply outclassed by the 2015 champions and 2016 semifinalists, who appeared to enjoy the slippery conditions and piled on 38 points in the second half.

It was the Highlanders' biggest ever win and skipper Elliott Dixon was thrilled with the effort.

"We have been working towards an 80-minute performance and it was good to get that," he said.

"It has been a good [few weeks] for us."

The Force were coming off a rare win, against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but with an already lengthy injury list their hopes took an early dent when they lost Peter Grant to a head knock after just 10 minutes.

The Highlanders were in no mood to be sympathetic and pounced in the 19th minute, with Tevita Li breaking down the sideline for the opening try and his second of the season.

The home team stayed in touch through successive penalties from Ian Prior to close the deficit to 10-6.

In the 36th minute the visitors tightened their grip when Aki Seiuli, a late inclusion in the starting XV, intercepted close to the line and dived over.

Down 6-17 at the break, the Force also had to cope with being a man down after Semisi Masirewa was sent off late in the half.

In the 44th minute, Highlanders speedster Patrick Osborne broke away after a lovely dummy and left the Force players in his wake as he sprinted to the tryline.

The Force had Richie Arnold sent off in the 47th minute and three minutes later Seiuli again celebrated his promotion with a second try as he charged over from five metres out.

The Highlanders then added a further four late tries through Rob Thompson with a double, Dillon Hunt and Richard Buckman as the Force completely folded.

Force captain Bill Meakes was dismayed by the performance.

"It was really embarrassing for us," he said.

"Our workrate wasn't there."

Man of the match: Mart Banks controlled the game nicely, while Elliot Dixon's work rate was impressive throughout the game. However, the award goes to prop Aki Seiuli who scored two tries and made metres whenever he had ball in hand.

The scorers:

For Western Force:
Pens: Prior 2

For Highlanders:
Tries: Li, Seiuli 2, Osborne, Thompson 2, Hunt, Buckman
Cons: Banks 6
Pen: Banks

Yellow cards: Semisi Masirewa (Western Force, 39 - cynical play, deliberate knock down); Richie Arnold (Western Force, 47 - foul play, shoulder charge)


Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes (captain), 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacement: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 James Verity-Amm

Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14  Patrick Osborne, 13  Malakai Fekitoa, 12  Richard Buckman, 11  Tevita Li, 10  Marty Banks, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Guy Millar, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21  Aaron Smith, 22  Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson.

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Ed Martin (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

There are currently no matches being played
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 05h05 Sydney
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Lions v Blues 35 | 38
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 3 3 0 0 15
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Waratahs 3 1 1 1 6
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4