Charlie Ngatai (67), Liam Messam (47), Tim Nanai-Williams (10)
Aaron Cruden (69,48,11)
John Hardie (31)
Lima Sopoaga (57,37,19,2)
Lima Sopoaga (33)
15. Mils Muliaina
14. Tim Nanai-Williams
13. Robert Fruean
12. Charlie Ngatai
11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma
10. Aaron Cruden
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
8. Liam Messam
7. Tanerau Latimer
6. Nick Crosswell
5. Matt Symons
4. Michael Fitzgerald
3. Ben Tameifuna
2. Mahonri Schwalger
1. Pauliasi Manu
16. Rhys Marshall
17. Jamie Mackintosh
18. Josh Hohneck
19. Huia Tevita Koloamatangi
20. Liam Squire
21. Brad Weber
22. Andrew Horrell
23. James Lowe
A game of two halves with the Highlanders dominating the first and the Chiefs having the upper hand in the second. The Highlanders put up a great effort away from home and could have easily won tonight. The Chiefs are just too dangerous and managed to run in three tries. A great spectacle of Super Rugby!
OK no penalty, the advantage was for a potential dangerous tackle by Ben Smith which was adjudicated as being legitimate so the Chiefs have a scrum in the corner of the 22m. They kick it straight out from the scrum and end the match! The Chiefs have managed to clinch this one tonight!
The Highlanders attack from their own 22m and throw everything at it. They spill the ball in contact and the Chiefs have possession! The Highlanders infringe at the breakdown and the Chiefs are awarded a penalty straight in front. The ref is just checking with the TMO for some foul play.
The Chiefs get possession and kick down field! The ball goes out after the Highlanders are bundled into touch. Silly stuff from the Highlanders who have been penalized for time wasting as they throw the ball away. Cruden kicks for the corner. They knock on in the line out and Highlanders will have one last effort to try and win this match!
The Highlanders build strongly as they edge into the Chiefs 22m. A clever grubber through just needed to pop up and the Chiefs would have been in trouble. It rolls forward for a Chiefs line out. Kerr Barlow clears from the line out but doesn't find much distance at all and the Highlanders are on attack again.
Chiefs trying yet again to break the Highlanders defense but the visitors tackle well and eventually force a knock on. Highlanders need to get some possession and again and get into the Chiefs 22m to give themselves a chance
CONVERSION, CRUDEN, 21-19. Vital kick from Cruden who finally finds his kicking boots and takes his side into the lead!
TRY, CHIEFS, NGATAI, 19-19. Liam Squire makes an incredible break as the Chiefs surge into the Highlanders 22m! Cruden chips across field as Tikiorotuma manages to grab it and pop it inside to Ngatai who scores the try! Classic Chiefs try.
After more scrum resets we get under way. Cruden throws a loose pass and Winston Stanley manages to grab it! Apparently there was a knock on from the Highlanders as Cruden passes it so we come back for a scrum.
Another wave of attack from the Chiefs! The highlanders are up to the challenge once again as Joe Wheeler wins his side a much needed penalty! Sopoaga kicks for touch
Cruden runs well off the line out but just can''t get his pass away. They continue to runs trongly and get close to the line once again! A loose pass is pounced on by the visitors and they manage to clear again!
Exciting play from the Chiefs as they throw everything at the Highlanders and get close to the visitors line. Cruden runs flat and his pass out wide to the wing for an inevitable try is blocked by a Highlanders player and they manage to clear through Sopoaga. Good defense from the Highlanders!
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 14-19. Great stuff from Sopoaga, displaying an excellent piece of goal-kicking!
The Highlanders win a scrum penalty just inside the Chiefs half and opportunity for the visitors to get their first points of the second half!
The Chiefs manage to hold onto the ball after a great break! Unfortunately they are bundled into touch as they try the blind side one too many times! The second half momentum is definitely more with the home side so far.
Great break from Coltman the Highlanders hooker! The Highlanders in their enthusiasm infringe at the following breakdown and give away a penalty.
CONVERSION, CRUDEN, 14-16. Cruden sneaks it over and the homeside are back within striking distance!
TRY, CHIEFS, MESSAM, 12-16. Chiefs show some patience and eventually its the All Black Liam Messam who powers over with a pick and go from the ruck!
After several reset scrums we have play again as Kerr Barlow runs strongly and is driven in a maul like fashion towards the line!
The Chiefs manage to turn over possession and make a rare attacking play but are eventually taken into touch. They win possession again off the Highlanders line out and this time make good ground! They work their way into the Highlanders 22m and looking dangerous. Smith attempts to steal the ball at the breakdown but slightly knocks on in the process and Chiefs will have an attacking scrum
Cruden gets us underway for the 2nd half! Immediately an infringement by the Chiefs! Coaches half time talk clearly didn't inspire Tikoirotuma. Sopoaga finds touch deep in the Chiefs half!
A late break from Kerr Barlow almosts sets up a late try but the Highlanders scramble on defence and make sure the score remains as it is as they head into the break!
Chiefs win a penalty immediately after the kick off in the corner of the 22m. Cruden's effort is wide1 Two misses for him tonight.
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 7-16. Great kick again! And suddenly the Highlanders have a healthy lead over the current champions!
Chiefs have been penalized for obstruction! A little bit harsh on the home side their! But Highlanders will welcome a shot from 40m straight in front just before half time!
More great team play from the Highlanders! They always look to keep the ball alive and do so effectively. Ben Smith makes a good run making use of his twinkle toes step but eventually they knock on.
CONVERSION, SOPOAGA, 7-13. All these kicks are vital! Great kick.
TRY, HIGHLANDERS, HARDY, 7-11. Highlanders setup a solid maul and power their way over the line! Classic South African style try!
They knock on! And Tikoirotuma gets the ball and is away! He makes a great run all the way to the half way and looks to pass to Cruden who knocks on...now the Highlanders back on attack through Sopoaga! End to end stuff! The play ends as as Chiefs are taken into touch 5m out.
highlanders throwing the ball around nicely and eventually Sopoaga makes a half break with a classic "show and go". It goes wide to fekitoa who makes a strong run as well! Highlanders build nicely all the way up to 5m out!
Shaun Treeby having a good game as he makes a great steal for the visitors. Sopoaga finds good yardage with his kick to setup a line out in the Chiefs half.
Highlanders join the ruck incorrectly and the Chiefs are awarded a penalty about 45m out. Cruden will have a shot from wide out on the 10-yard line. The kick just goes wide!
Highlanders manage to win a penalty off the line out! Chiefs will rue a missed opportunity there. Sopoaga finds touch.
Chiefs on the attack again as Nanai Wiliams makes a half break! A chip kick through into the corner has the Highlanders scrambling but they manage to get back in time and get it into touch! 5m line out for the Chiefs, great opportunity here!
Messam makes a great hit on Fekitoa off the restart! Tameifuna manages to grab the loose ball and makes a solid run down the left wing, what a sight! Nothing comes of the attack as Highlanders release the pressure.
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 7-6. Another solid effort, straight through!
The highlanders battle to get some go forward before Hardy makes a strong run to get the momentum going! It leads to a penalty advantage. The Highlanders continue to attack but with no success. They come back for the penalty and Sopoaga will have a chance to close the gap.
The Highlanders manage to hold onto the ball for a decent passage of play and gain some momentum. Joe Wheeler makes a cracker of a run to take them forward! Kerr Barlow successfully spoils the party but knocks on in the process of turning over possession. Scrum to highlanders about 30m out.
CONVERSION, CRUDEN, 7-3. Good start from the All Black pivot!
TRY, CHIEFS, NANAI-WILLIAMS, 5-3. Pure class! Chiefs crash it up with the forwards for a couple of phases and then just pure simple fast hands out wide to Nanai-Williams who sprints into the corner for a textbook try!
Chiefs win the first scrum battle as the Highlanders are penalized for illegal binding! Cruden finds a good touch, but Highlanders win the line out and begin an attack! Chiefs work hard at the breakdown and win another penalty.
A great chip kick through is almost gathered by Treeby! Unfortunately for the visitors he knocks on and the Chiefs have a scrum by their own 22m.
The Chiefs use the forwards effectively to gain some good ground as they repetitively work the blind side but are eventually bundled into touch. Highlanders win a penalty at the following line out and Sopoaga relieves the pressure with a good clearance.
PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 0-3. Great first effort from the visitors flyhalf!
A high paced, end to end game as one expects from these two teams! The Highlanders have had the majority of possession and have looked good as they build phases to gain momentum. The Chiefs have the dangerous ability to just score out of nowhere which they nearly did several times. The Highlanders deserve the lead largely thanks to Sopoaga''s boot but the Cheifs can turn the game around in an instant and will have to watch them closely in order to get a victory today! Should be a great second half!
And we're underway in Hamilton as the Highlanders kick off! Chiefs immediately look to attack and make some ground. A scrappy chip kick gives Highlanders possession who go on attack. An infringement from the Chiefs at the breakdown! Highlanders will have an early opportunity from 40m out.
Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph has made a handful of changes to his line-up: With Brad Thorn out injured, Jarrad Hoeata moves into the four jersey and Joe Wheeler wears five. John Hardie is back in the starting XV and a re-shuffle in the backline to cover injured winger Patrick Osborne sees Malakai Fekitoa move to the left wing and Winston Stanley into centre.
The Chiefs have made six changes to their team with flanker Tanerau Latimer starting. Latimer's return on the flank means Liam Messam moves to number eight to replace Kane Thompson. Pauliasi Manu starts at prop, Mahonri Schwalger will make his long awaited return. Lock Matt Symons and flanker Nick Crosswell come into the starting line-up, as does scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
Hello and welcome to Waikato Stadium in Hamilton for our coverage of Saturday's first Super Rugby clash as the defending champions host the Highlanders.
15. Ben Smith
14. Richard Buckman
13. Winston Stanley
12. Shaun Treeby
11. Malakai Fekitoa
10. Lima Sopoaga
9. Aaron Smith
8. Nasi Manu
7. John Hardie
6. Gareth Evans
5. Joseph Wheeler
4. Jarrad Hoeata
3. Chris King
2. Liam Coltman
1. Kane Hames
16. Brayden Mitchell
17. Matias Diaz
18. Craig Millar
19. Josh Bekhuis
20. Elliot Dixon
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Trent Renata
23. Shane Christie
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