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Highlanders 35    Reds 30


Do the Highlanders milk a penalty? Will we see a drop goal?

Fakatava feeds, but the front rows go down. Reset. 

Fakatava feeds again, and they use it. The Highlanders go wide through Gregory. 

Fakatava picks and goes himself - and he scores in the corner! 

The Highlanders have won it!

Burns will look to convert, but it doesn't matter. He lands it!

HIG 35 RED 30

79 mins

Marshall throws over the top for Harmon, and he carries to the 22. 

Fakatava goes to Renton on the left, but the ball is loose.

Paisami snaps it up, but then knocks on!

Highlanders scrum.

79 mins

Huge scrum for the Highlanders. Thomas feeds, but the front rows come up.

Reset, but it runs the clock down. 

Thomas feeds again, he goes to Lynagh, who clears into touch.

Highlanders lineout. 

77 mins

Marshall throws, Frizell wins it and goes to Fakatava. 

Harmon runs and takes some tackling. The Highlanders go wide to Nareki - who finds Whaanga inside him.

The Highlanders are on the 5m line. Gregory drops it cold though! Could that be it?

Reds scrum. 

76 mins

Burns kicks off, and the Reds bring it down before Lynagh clears.

Highlanders lineout.

75 mins - PENALTY REDS

Thomas feeds, and the Reds win a penalty! 

Is this kickable? About 40m out. Yep - they're going for it!

Lynagh lines it up, he's been brilliant with the boot tonight. Boos sing out from Forsyth Bar.

And he nails it! The Reds take the lead with minutes to go!

HIG 28 RED 30

73 mins

Highlanders lineout. Marshall throws, but it's called for not straight!

Gilbert leaves the field in pain, Scott Gregory replaces him. 

Reds scrum.

73 mins

Lynagh kicks off again, and now it's the Highlanders turn to slow things down.

Fakatava clears to Campbell, who finds Nonggorr and he breaks! He finds McReight - who runs into the 22, but Burns gets over the top and wins the turnover!

Burns takes his time, and finds touch for a lineout.


Another injury issue for the Reds. Replacement prop Zander leaves the field for an HIA. Nonggorr comes back on. Garden-Bachop replaces Lowe for the Highlanders.

Thomas feeds, and goes to Lynagh, who kicks to Hunt. 

Hunt breaks, and carries into the 22 before he's tackled. 

Renton runs over the 22, as Burns slips Nareki in. Hunt goes again on the left, but loses the ball backwards.

Fakatava goes, as does Renton, as does Mikaele-Tu'u. Frizell goes close to the line - before Burns carries over the line, but he's forced back.

He offloads quickly to Garden-Bachop - and he scores with his first touch!

Gilbert to convert and give the Highlanders the lead. And he does not miss those!!!

HIG 28 RED 27

67 mins

Aaron Smith leaves the field to a standing ovation, for the last time as a Highlander. Folau Fakatava replaces him.

Faessler throws and the Reds win it, as Thomas clears with a box kick. 

The Highlanders attack inside the Reds' half though.

Lienert-Brown spills a short pass, though, and the Reds will have a scrum.

67 mins

Reds lineout, Faessler throws and they win it. 

The Highlanders give away a penalty before they have the chance to clear it.

Campbell does find touch for a lineout.

66 mins

Reds scrum. Thomas feeds, and is slow to play the ball as Harmon smashes him to win the ball!

Withy carries over the 22, as the Highlanders go to the left. Harmon spins out of a tackle before he's taken, close the 5m line. Burns swings it wide to Nareki - who goes for the line, and offloads to Hunt inside him - but he's bundled into touch!

Huge defence from the Reds.

64 mins

Faessler throws, and its messy but the ball ends up on the Reds' side.

The ball goes back to Lynagh, who goes high but straight to Hunt. 

Hunt finds Nareki - who kicks and has too much pace for Lynagh! The bounce is kind, but Campbell gets across to apply the pressure as Nareki knocks on.

Reds scrum.

63 mins

Lynagh kicks off, Burns kicks it back.

Lynagh kicks it back to Burns, Burns kicks it into touch.


Marshall throws, the Highlanders win it and attack inside the 22.

Gilbert hits the line hard, and Smith plays quickly to Frizell. Smith goes again and finds Ma'u - who goes right over Wilson and scores his first Super Rugby try!

Gilbert to convert and close the gap to six points - he hasn't missed since the end of March, and doesn't start now!

HIG 21 RED 27

60 mins

Burns kicks off, and again Vunivalu takes it before being smashed by Nareki.

The Reds keep it though, and go wide to Paisami - on as a sub - who spills it backwards.

The Reds go back infield, where Smith turns it over for a penalty.

Burns finds touch.

59 mins - PENALTY REDS

The Reds want the points again. McReight calls for the shot at goal, and Lynagh obliges.

HIG 14 RED 27

58 mins

Faessler throws, the Reds win it and attack patiently.

Wilson carries into the 22, as they go right through Campbell.

Faessler goes at the line, before the Reds go right again. Wilson carries strong, as Thomas goes to Faessler. 

McReight goes and gets another metre. They've got advantage too.

Wilson tries to slip Upfield through, but he loses the ball and we go back for the penalty.

56 mins

Highlanders lineout. Marshall throws, Harmon wins it before Burns clears. 

Reds lineout.

55 mins

Reds scrum, Thomas feeds and goes to Vunivalu as first receiver. 

They go all the way to the left, where Grealey can't keep it in with the tryline in sight. 

53 mins

Makalio is replaced by Marshall. Reds scrum, Thomas feeds, and goes to O'Connor off the back.

O'Connor goes to the air, where Vunivalu can't win it as the Highlanders turn it over. 

They go wide all the way to Lowe on the right. They go back infield to de Groot, as Parkinson carries closer to halfway. 

Burns is tackled and loses it forward.

52 mins

Thomas feeds, but the front rows go down. Reset.

Thomas feeds again, and goes to Lynagh off the back - who is tackled low by Smith.

The Reds get over halfway, before Thomas goes to the air, straight to Hunt.

Burns finds Nareki as the Highlanders go wide.

Hicks offloads to Whaanga - but it's called forward.

49 mins

Highlanders lineout. Makalio goes short, but Frizell has no idea its coming, and the Reds win it.

Ball goes back to Lynagh, who kicks downfield, but not into touch.

The Highlanders go wide to Hunt, and then back infield as Nareki kicks through.

Lynagh gets it, but Harmon smashes him. The Reds have it under control. 

Thomas goes to the air with a box kick, Nareki claims it. 

Smith's distribution is interrupted, but the Highlanders hold on. Ainsley loses the ball on the ground, so the Reds will have a scrum. 

47 mins

Slight delay, Ainsley has lost his boot - but now has another.

Burns kicks off, straight to Vunivalu. Nareki is immediately in his face, though, and wins a penalty!

Burns finds touch.

46 mins - PENALTY REDS

Do the Reds want the lineout? Nope, McReight - acting captain - calls for the shot.

And he makes no mistake.

HIG 14 RED 24

45 mins

Smith feeds, but the Reds get their shove on - and win the penalty!

Nonggorr the hero!

44 mins

Reds lineout inside the 22. Faessler throws, but is called for not straight.

Highlanders scrum.

43 mins

Highlanders lineout. Makalio throws, Frizell wins it and Nareki boots it into touch for another lineout.

43 mins

The Reds slow play right down, as Campbell kicks down to Hunt.

Lowe has a run, as the Highlanders force the pace. Frizell carries to halfway, Renton carries over.

Burns goes to the air, and it's allowed to bounce before Campbell gets to it. The Reds have it safely, though.

Thomas box kicks, and Hunt gets up to win it on the right. He stays in, but the Reds snatch it before O'Connor looks for a 50-22 - and fails.

41 mins

The Reds are back out on the field, followed by the Highlanders. McDermott has failed his HIA - the third Reds player to be ruled out.

Burns kicks off to get us going again.


Faessler throws, Blyth wins it and wraps with Faessler - who slips Vunivalu through into score unopposed.

Lynagh converts with the final act of the first half.

HIG 14 RED 21

40 mins

Highlanders lineout. Makalio throws, Renton wins it, and Nareki finds touch from inside the 22. 

Big mistake. Reds lineout.

40 mins

Dropout, and Burns clears it straight to Wilson, who runs hard at the line. 

The Reds have the ball inside the Highlanders' half. They go wide to Campbell, but his pass to Vunivalu is wayward and into touch.

38 mins

Play is stopped again, de Groot is staying down hurt. He'll continue though.

Makalio throws, but the Reds win it inside the 22!

Ravai goes for the line, but he's held up - by de Groot!

38 mins

Makalio thows, but the Reds pinch it. 

Lynagh runs, but he's tackled, as does Faessler. O'Connor goes to the air, and Nareki is smashed by Vunivalu as the ball bounces loose.

Campbell kicks along the ground, but the ball beats him and Hunt into touch.

Highlanders lineout.

36 mins

Makalio throws again, Parkinson wins it and the Highlanders go to the backs. 

The Reds defend well, and Burns is forced backwards, but McReight gives away a penalty off his feet.

35 mins

McDermott leaves the field for a HIA, Kalani Thomas replaces him. Highlanders lineout.

Makalio throws, and they end up with it before Burns kicks to the back. 

Vunivalu returns fire into touch.

34 mins

Highlanders scrum. Smith feeds, and the Highlanders win a penalty! Illegal wheeling the call from the ref.

34 mins

The Reds call for the tap, Wilson fakes it and is smashed by de Groot, so the ref calls for it to be taken again.

Wilson takes, and they go wide. Faessler goes on the left, but he's tackled. McReight the same. 

Ravai goes, but he's tackled short. Faifua is tackled short. They go to the backs, but O'Connor's effort goes to ground and gives the Highlanders time to get back.

McDermott tries to play the ball, but knocks on!

Unreal defence from the Highlanders.

32 mins

Play is stopped as Vest is treated. He leaves the field to be treated, Lopeti Faifua comes on to replace him - the Reds' second injury of the first half.

The Reds will have a lineout in the corner as Campbell finds touch. 

Faessler throws, and Faifua takes it for his first touch. The Reds drive, Faessler has it at the back.

The Highlanders defend, so the Reds are forced to use it. Vunivalu carries to the 5m line, before they go wide to O'Connor and Flook, but the Highlanders defend well.

Wilson goes, tackled, Upfield goes - tackled but wins advantage. They go wide, but O'Connor's pass is wayward, so we go back for the penalty. 

30 mins

Lynagh kicks off, the Highlanders control it before Burns clears it to Campbell.

The Reds have it just inside the Highlanders' half. Lynagh goes to the air, and Vunivalu beats Nareki in the air to claim it. 

The Reds on attack again. Campbell carries to the 10m lone, but a penalty is called.

Vest has stayed down hurt for the Reds.


Smith feeds, but a reset is called. Smith feeds again, Renton goes off the back, stretches for the line and scores!

The Highlanders stacked their backline, and completely fooled the Reds.

Can Gilbert convert and level scores? He sure can!

All square under the roof!

HIG 14 RED 14

25 mins

Highlanders scrum. Smith feeds, and wraps with Burns.

Burns goes blind and kicks for Nareki to chase! Lynagh gets there first, but Nareki chases hard and tackles him in-goal to force a five-metre scrum.

24 mins

Reds lineout. Faessler throws, but it's untidy as Ravai knocks on to gift the Highlanders a scrum.

"Yes boys," shouts Aaron Smith. Renton the hero there.

23 mins

Reds scrum, McDermott feeds, and goes blind to Vunivalu, who kicks to Hunt at the back.

Hunt returns fire into touch.

22 mins

Highlanders lineout. Makalio throws, Parkinson wins it and goes to Smith.

Smith finds Burns, who goes to the air, but Campbell wins it against Whaanga.

Nareki challenges him, but gives away a penalty.

21 mins

Highlanders scrum. Smith feeds, and wins a penalty as Ainsley gets the better of Ravai.

20 mins

Reds scrum on the 5m line in the left corner. 

McDermott feeds, and goes to O'Connor off the back. 

O'Connor drops it though. Chance wasted for the Reds.

19 mins

Lynagh kicks off, and it's spilled by the Highlanders! McReight snaps it up, inside the Highlanders' 22.

O'Connor goes wide, and McDermott goes for the line, but Burns gets a hand on it for a knock on. 

Reds scrum.


Makalio throws, finds Renton, who finds Smith. 

Smith goes quickly to Burns, who puts Nareki into a gap and he scores! 

Gilbert converts his first attempt of the night.

HIG 7 RED 14

17 mins

Highlanders scrum, that last play was knocked on as Smith found Whaanga.

Smith feeds, and wins another advantage. 

Smith kicks, but Nareki can't hold on, so we go back for the penalty, and a lineout in the corner. 

16 mins

Burns finds touch for a lineout on the 22. Makalio throws, Parkinson wins it before Nareki hits the line hard. Renton picks and goes, as does Frizell.

The Highlanders go back the other way, as Smith finds Whaanga, who goes wide to Nareki on the wing!

Nareki is in space, and dives for the corner, but McDermott gets across to bundle him into touch to save the try!

14 mins

Burns kicks off, Lynagh clears, and Hunt takes the quick lineout.

De Groot runs, but Upfield gives away a penalty on halfway. 

12 mins - TRY REDS

Reds lineout on their own line. They win it, and Wilson breaks upfield out of nowere! 

He carries over halfway, and throws a huge dummy to get rid of Hunt. He finds O'Connor outside him - and he somehow stays infield before getting the pass back inside!

The Reds go through the hands, before Upfield goes over to score with his first touch!

Wow, wow, wow. What a try.

Lynagh converts, and the Reds double their lead.

HIG 0 RED 14

11 mins

Highlanders lineout, right in the corner. Makalio throws, Frizell wins it and the Highlanders drive.

Smith waits at the back, and uses it as the Highlanders go to the right.

Burns kicks through the line for Lowe, but there's too much on it as the ball dribbles into touch.

10 mins

Wright leaves the field, Jake Upfield replaces him. Burns kicks off again, Vunivalu takes it - and gets smashed by Nareki - who wins a penalty for his troubles!

9 mins - TRY REDS

Campbell finds the corner, and the Reds will have an attacking lineout.

Faessler throws and the Reds go to the backs. Lynagh runs, as does Ravai.

O'Connor slips Wright away up the inside - and he runs over Smith to score! Hang on though, Wright has stayed down hurt. 

The try is confirmed, but the Reds could lose their co-captain. 

Lynagh to convert, and does.


7 mins

Another Highlanders scrum. Smith feeds, Renton runs off the back and carries over the 10. 

Burns tries to step through the line, but it's been turned over again - looks like McReight again.

6 mins

Reds scrum. McDermott feeds, Wilson picks and runs off the back.

McDermott knocks on trying to play the ball though, and the Highlanders get out of jail.

Harmon the hero there to force the error.

5 mins

Reds lineout. Faessler throws, and they go short to Wilson, who goes back to Faessler.

Ravai hits the line hard just inside halfway, before Wilson gets it away to Nonggorr. 

The Reds go nowhere, so Lynagh goes to the air, straight to Burns.

Campbell and Flook chase, and wrap up Burns, as McReight turns it over for a penalty.

3 mins

Highlanders scrum, right in their own 22. 

Smith feeds, and gets it off the back, before Burns belts it down over halfway into touch.

2 mins

Parkinson takes the kick, and the Highlanders bring it under control before Burns clears.

Vunivalu runs it back before Wilson carries over halfway. Vunivalu breaks down the right, and finds Campbell and McReight inside him! 

The Reds can't hold onto it though, and Flook knocks on with the tryline in sight.

Highlanders scrum.


And we're away! Lynagh gets us underway under the roof.


Huge cheer for Smith, who leads the Highlanders out of the sheds and onto Forsyth Barr.


In late news, Thomas Umaga-Jensen has been ruled out, so Matt Whaanga comes in for his debut at centre.


Good evening! We're 10 minutes away from kick-off under the roof - and it's all about one man tonight.

Dunedin says goodbye to Aaron Smith - as a Highlander at least - as the club's most-capped player says farewell.

Can the team send him out on a high, and keep their finals quest alive?


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Highlanders v Reds Super Rugby Pacific clash, from Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium. 

Currently ninth on the Super Rugby table, tonight looms as key for the Highlanders' hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Depending on results, the southerners could finish anywhere from seventh to 11th on the ladder - but face the difficult task of taking on the Blues at Eden Park next week to ultimately decide their fate.

That makes tonight's clash, against the seventh-placed Reds, all the more vital.

To add to the equation, tonight will be Aaron Smith's final home game for the Highlanders, as he prepares to farewell New Zealand at the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, the Reds are also out of the running to book a home quarter-final, with their last two games still needed to decide if they reach the playoffs or not.

Brad Thorn's side have proven they can turn Kiwi teams over, evidenced by inflicting the Chiefs' only loss of the season two weeks ago.

However, a loss to the Blues last week sent the Reds crashing back down to earth, and places just as much importance on a win tonight before a trip to Fiji to end the regular season next week.

TAB odds: Highlanders $1.47, Reds $2.70, draw $18


Highlanders: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Andrew Makalio, 3-Jermaine Ainsley, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Max Hicks, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Billy Harmon (c), 8-Hugh Renton, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Freddie Burns, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Sam Gilbert, 13-Matt Whaanga, 14-Jonah Lowe, 15-Mitch Hunt

Reserves: 16-Rhys Marshall, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Saula Ma'u, 19-Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 20-Sean Withy, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Connor Garden-Bachop, 23-Scott Gregory

Reds: 1-Peni Ravai, 2-Matt Faessler, 3-Zane Nonggorr, 4-Angus Blyth, 5-Connor Vest, 6-Liam Wright, 7-Fraser McReight, 8-Harry Wilson, 9-Tate McDermott, 10-Tom Lynagh, 11-Mac Grealey, 12-James O'Connor, 13-Josh Flook, 14-Suliasi Vunivalu, 15-Jock Campbell

Reserves: 16-Richie Asiata, 17-Dane Zander, 18-Sef Fa'agase, 19-Jake Upfield, 20-Seru Uru, 21-Kalani Thomas, 22-Lawson Creighton, 23-Hunter Paisami

2023-05-26T03:46:45Z dg43tfdfdgfd