Crusaders Register Highlanders Win

The Crusaders are up and running in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby after a 26-20 home win against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.  Limo Sopoaga got the game underway.  A free kick was given for an early shove but the scoreboard only opened up in the 17th minute.

Colin Slade landed a wonderful penalty and saw the Saders in a three point lead.  The Landers scored the first try of the game halfway into the first half.  Aaron Smith sold a great dummy and then dived over for a beautiful try.

Sopoaga followed it up with a conversion to extend the lead.  The hosts scored a try thanks to Scott Barrett as he smashed over the line with an assist from Luke Whitelock.  A conversion from Slade then handed them a three point lead at 10-7.

A penalty in the 35th minute saw the home side extend the lead by three points.  A converted try followed to put Todd Blackadder’s men virtually out of sight at 20-7.  Israel Dagg was not able to start the second half because he was nursing an injury and was replaced by Tom Taylor.

More than 10 minutes into the second stanza a penalty came in for Blackadder’s boys and they made it count.  The visitors finally got back in the game with a try from Malakai Fekitoa followed by a conversion by Sopoaga.  A penalty from Sopoaga then saw the Otago franchise slowly closing in.

Slade added another three pointer before a late penalty from the Highlanders saw them move in closer but had run out of time as the game ended with a six point winning margin in favour of the Canterbury franchise.