The Highlanders ensured there will be an all-New Zealand Super Rugby final after brushing the Waratahs aside 35-17 in Saturday’s second semi-final in Sydney. Lima Sopoaga opened the scoring with a penalty before the hosts scored the first try courtesy of Rob Horne. But an Aaron Smith five-pointer put the Landers back in front.
Neither try was converted and so Bernard Foley’s 22nd minute penalty restored parity. It was 11-8 when Foley landed another penalty with 10 minutes to go until half-time. However Jamie Joseph’s side was in back in front when Richard Buckman crossed the line two minutes later and this time Sopoaga made no mistake.
A third Foley three-pointer reduced the deficit to 15-14 at the break. The New South Wales pivot brought his side into the lead in the second half with yet another penalty on 50 minutes. It coincided with four Otago substitutions and it paid dividends just two minute later as Waisake Naholo went over for the visitors.
Five minutes later the men from Dunedin were awarded a penalty try and at 27-17 with 23 minutes left on the clock, the match was slipping away from the New South Welshmen. After a cagey 17 minutes Sopoaga landed a drop goal and four minutes later a Patrick Osborne try wrapped it up as the Highlanders move on to a final next week against the Hurricanes.