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.