High­landers beat Cru­saders

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Ne­mani Nadolo

Oa­maru: The High­landers didn’t make the Cru­saders too wel­come in their Su­per Rugby friendly in Oa­maru, win­ning 40-12. The High­landers ran in six tries to two in a ex­cel­lent per­for­mance in front of around 3200 peo­ple on a damp White­stone Con­tract­ing Sta­dium sur­face. The Cru­saders were keen to play a high speed game ear­lier, but con­di­tions and a tough High­landers de­fence made it dif­fi­cult and as the game wore on the High­landers took con­trol. The High­landers drew first blood af­ter 11 min­utes when sec­ond five-eighth Rob Thomp­son fended off his op­po­site to go in un­der the posts from a 5m scrum, giv­ing Marty Banks the sim­plest con­ver­sion.

The High­landers got their first real op­por­tu­nity af­ter Cru­saders full­back Marty McKen­zie had a kick charged down on half­way and the south­ern­ers pounced. Mid­way through the half open side flanker Matt Todd got Cru­saders level when he took a quick tap from 5m out and bur­rowed his way over ad­ja­cent the up­right and Richie Mo’unga added the ex­tras. The Cru­saders’ field po­si­tion came from a su­perb 30m run by left wing Ne­mani Nadolo, who brushed of High­landers de­fend­ers off un­til he was pulled down at the 22m. The High­landers went straight back on at­tack af­ter an­other McKen­zie er­ror gave them the ball back and cen­tre Ja­son Emery, back in the blue jersey for the first time since his red card against the Sharks, forced his way over from close range. Banks’ con­ver­sion gave the High­landers a 14-7 lead with 10 min­utes left in the half. The sec­ond half saw a raft of sub­sti­tu­tions from both sides, with the High­landers mak­ing five and Cru­saders three, and they rolled on through­out the sec­ond half. For­mer New Zealand un­der-20s cen­tre Jack Good­hue, who has spent a year over­com­ing a se­ri­ous knee in­juries, got his first op­por­tu­nity for the Cru­saders while lock Tom Franklin, re­leased from the All Blacks squad, came on for the High­landers. Scor­ers: High­landers 40 (Rob Thomp­son, Ja­son Emery, Ryan Ton­gia, Te Aihe Toms, Fa’asoi Fu­atai, Fletcher Smith try, Marty Banks 4 con, Smith con) beat Cru­saders 12 (Ne­mani Nadolo, Mitchell Hunt try, Richie Mo’unga con).

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