Ben Smith (72), Malakai Fekitoa (67), Patrick Osborne (27), Ged Robinson (24)
Hayden Parker (60), Lima Sopoaga (48)
Hayden Parker (73), Lima Sopoaga (29)
Nemani Nadolo (63), Nepo Laulala (49), Tim Perry (41), Jordan Taufua (11)
Colin Slade (70,37)
Colin Slade (65,51,12)
15. Ben Smith
14. Richard Buckman
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Shaun Treeby
11. Patrick Osborne
10. Lima Sopoaga
9. Aaron Smith
8. Nasi Manu
7. Shane Christie
6. Elliot Dixon
5. Joseph Wheeler
4. Jarrad Hoeata
3. Chris King
2. Ged Robinson
1. Kane Hames
16. Sam Anderson-Heather
17. Matias Diaz
18. Ma'afu Fia
19. Thomas Franklin
20. Gareth Evans
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Hayden Parker
23. Phil Burleigh
Probably the match of the season! Both teams showed what Super Rugby is all about by playing a high-paced match with some spectacular skill! Nadolo was hugely impressive for the Crusaders who seemed to break tackles at will and helped the Crusaders get on the front foot. Fekitoa provided a similar service for the Highlanders and the man has certainly done enough to give himself some game time this year for the All Blacks.
NO TRY! The ball touched the side line in the in-goal area as Osborne dotted it down! The Crusaders win! Dagg has saved them with his herculean effort to get across and push Osborne into the corner!
Patrick Osborne has gone over in the corner! Dagg has made a huge effort to prevent a try and made a cover tackle as Osborn goes over! We going to the TMO to decide! What a way to finish off this incredible match!
Highlanders are all over the Crusaders as the crowd urges them on!! They work their way right up to the try line! The Crusaders are doing everything to prevent a try or even conceding a penalty!
CONVERSION, PARKER, 30-32. Parker converts the try and it's now just a two-point ball game as we head into the final 5 minutes!
TRY! HIGHLANDERS, SMITH, 28-32. It's all happening here at Forsyth Barr Stadium! The Highlanders are just not giving in as they show great strength and skill! Ben Smith makes the intial half gap and finishes it off a few phases later by crashing over from close range!
PENALTY, CRUSADERS, SLADE, 23-32. Slade makes no mistake from straight out in front!
McCaw does what he does best and puts huge pressure on the opposition at the breakdown and wins his side a penalty within kicking range!
Parkers attempt hits the poles! Crucial miss from the home sides replacement!
TRY! HIGHLANDERS, FEKITOA, 23-29. Pure class from Malikai Fekitoa! He initiates the play by bursting through with great strength and energy. The Highlanders carry the ball up strongly before Smith runs down the short side and pops it out the back of the hand to Fekitoa to finish off the move he started!
CONVERSION, SLADE, 18-29. Slade adds the extras to the incredible try!
TRY! CRUSADERS, NADOLO, 18-27. This man is unstoppable tonight! He initiates the go-forward as he slices through the Highlanders defense with such ease off a scrum. The Crusaders are all over it as they go wide where Dagg shows incredible skill to take a couple of defenders on and pop the ball to Nadolo to finish off what he started!
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, PARKER, 18-22. Parker converts successfully to reduce the gap to four points!
Highlanders receive a penalty straight out in front with which Hayden Parker should add three points.
Another breathless passage of play! The Crusaders fire off a back line move off a set piece to get them momentum! They make a lot of ground right up to the Highlanders try line before spilling the ball with which Parker hacks downfield. Dagg begins another wave of attack and the visitors are brought up just short once more! Highlanders eventually manage to get out without conceding points!
Crusaders are once again looking dominant and are all over the Highlanders! Slade makes another good run to get his side on the front foot. The ball goes to Dagg who finds himself in space on the wing, he chips the ball over the last line of defense but Aaron Smith gets back to dot the ball down.
CONVERSION, SLADE, 15-22. No mistake this time from the Crusaders pivot who adds the extras!
TRY! CRUSADERS, LAULALA, 15-20. Incredible stuff from the Sader's! Immediately after the kick off they get on attack by winning the restart and going wide to Crotty who makes a break! Crotty is brought up short after which Nadolo has another strong run before Laulala crashes over from short range to complete the try!
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 15-15. Lima times it nicely and strikes it through the uprights!
The Highlanders win another penalty as Whitelock is caught for being offside after the line out. This time the Highlanders opt for a shot at goal to try level the scores!
The Crusaders are hammered at scrum time! The Highlanders pressure pays off and they win themselves a penalty on the half way mark. Sopoaga finds a good touch deep inside the Saders half!
Colin Slade's attempt is wide! Three point lead for the visitors who get their heads in front once more!
TRY! CRUSADERS, PERRY, 12-15. Great start to the half by the Crusaders! Slick hands across the width of the field gets the ball to Nadolo who breaks the line! He's brought up short after which Ellis pops the ball to Perry to crash over close to the line!
Colin Slade gets the second half underway! Highlanders briefly attempt to run the ball before eventually clearing it safely into touch.
HIGHLANDERS 12-10 CRUSADERS
That's half time! The Crusaders are called to blocking. The men in red made a brilliant start but the Highlanders have turned it around in a big way. It's still anyone's game. We'll be back in ten!
The original penalty against the Highlanders stands for holding on. But ref Glen Jackson makes it very clear he will not tolerate any more off-the-ball stuff.
A bit of handbags after McCaw gets a hand to the face. The TMO will have a look...
PENALTY, CRUSADERS, SLADE. 12-10. That's a harsh penalty! Wheeler punished for a tackle without the ball, but it's not his fault. Slade threw a crap pass to Crotty, who should have had the ball.
Ben Smith makes some inroads. Sopoaga sends a great kick into the corner. Nadolo is there to clear but the Highlanders go off their feet. Slade sets up the line-out just inside the Highlanders 22.
What a change in momentum. After the Crusaders dominated the opening exchanges, the Highlanders have come charging back. Jarrad Hoeata gets some attention from the medics as McCaw comes back onto the field.
The Crusaders are penalised for holding on again. The Highlanders go for touch. Fekitoa breaks again after the line-out as the blue jerseys flood forward. The momentum is with the home side.
CONVERSION, SOPOAGA. 12-7. Sopoaga nails his kick from out wide and the Highlanders have the lead.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, OSBORNE. 10-7. Malakai Fekitoa makes the initial break and offloads to Ben Smith. The full-back feeds Patrick Osborne who uses his pace to beat four Crusaders down the touchline to score in corner. What a try! What a turnaround!
Sopoaga pulls the conversion attempt.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, ROBINSON! 5-7. The hosts hammer away until Ged Robinson spots a gap next to ruck, runs a deceptive line to hit Aaron Smith's pass at pace to crash over!
YELLOW CARD, CRUSADERS, McCAW!!The Highlanders maul it from the line-out and then go to Osborne who comes up just short. The Crusaders kill the ball again and this time McCaw is shown a yellow card for another cynical infringement.
Aaron Smith breaks clear as he kicks a loose ball ahead! He is stopped on the deck on 22 by Johnny McNicholl after a chase. The Crusaders cough up the penalty and the Highlanders choose to set up the line-out.
The Crusaders are dominating at the breakdown. They're getting there first and totally overpowering their hosts. What a change from last week! Scrum to the Crusaders just outside the Highlanders 22.
MISSED PENALTY. Sopoaga sends his first shot at goal wide after McCaw goes off his feet at the breakdown.
CONVERSION, SLADE. 0-7. The Highlanders have hardly touched the ball yet.
TRY, CRUSADER, TAUFUA. 0-5. The pressure finally tells. The Crusaders hammer it up through phase play, Ellis skips one to find Jordan Taufua, who powers over from short range.
NO TRY! Johnny McNicholl's pass to Nadolo was forward. Scrum the Highlanders. The Crusaders engage early and cough up the free kick but Sopoaga misses touch so here come the Crusaders again!
The Highlanders scrum is under massive pressure. Nasi Manu is wrapped up and the ball is turned over. It goes wide quickly to Nadolo, who goes over in the corner!!!! Wait...was the final pass forward? The TMO will decide.
Sopoaga kicks the restart straight into touch so the Crusaders can attack from a scrum on the 22. They run the phases and then send it wide to McNicholl but the wing can't hold onto Taylor's rushed pass.
MISSED PENALTY. Slade's attempt from out wide drifts across the face of the posts.
Good start from the Crusaders, who will attack from a line-out in the Highlanders half after winning the first penalty. Drop-goal attempt from Slade!...it's wide. We'll go back for an advantage.
Here we go! Lima Sopoaga kicks us off. It goes deep. Ellis returns fire. Buckman and Smith run it back before sticking it up in the air.
Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga has been included in coach Jamie Joseph's starting XV. after spending two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury and replaces Hayden Parker, who drops down to the bench. Left wing Patrick Osborne, is also back in the run-on side after recovering from an ankle injury, and takes over from Jason Emery in the starting line-up. Liam Coltman is sidelined with a calf strain, so Ged Robinson starts at hooker.
Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder has made six changes to his starting XV. In the forwards, the All Blacks front row of Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Owen Franks move to the bench. Their spots in the run-on side has been taken by Tim Perry, Ben Funnell and Nepo Laulala. In the backs, Andy Ellis will start at scrum-half this weekend and Israel Dagg returns to full-back, which sees Tom Taylor move to centre.
Hello and welcome to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for our coverage of the South Island derby between the Highlanders and Crusaders. The Kiwi conference is wide open so tonight's result is crucial.
15. Israel Dagg
14. Johnny McNicholl
13. Tom Taylor
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Nemani Nadolo
10. Colin Slade
9. Andrew Ellis
8. Luke Whitelock
7. Richie McCaw
6. Jordan Taufua
5. Sam Whitelock
4. Dominic Bird
3. Nepo Laulala
2. Ben Funnell
1. Tim Perry
16. Corey Flynn
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Owen Franks
19. Jimmy Tupou
20. George Whitelock
21. Willi Heinz
22. Adam Whitelock
23. Nafi Tuitavake
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