The Crusaders went down 25-20 to the Highlanders at the AMI Stadium in Saturday’s first Super Rugby encounter. An opening to the scoreboard came in the fifth minute after the Landers were given a penalty and Lima Sopoaga made it count. The Saders quickly came on the attack which saw Matt Todd score a try which was followed by a conversion from Israel Dagg.
Sopoaga was given a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Colin Slade. The 19th minute saw the hosts extend the lead when Jordan Taufua scored a try and this was followed by a conversion. Todd Blackadder’s side was found offside which saw the visitors awarded a penalty which Sopoaga took well to slowly close the gap.
Just before the break Ben Smith and Sopoaga scored a try and a conversion respectively. The first half ended 14-13 with the home side in the lead. Six minutes into the second half and Waisake Naholo scored a try which saw the Dunedin team pass Blackadder’s boys on the scoreboard.
Naholo would score a try in the corner which was followed by a conversion by Sopoaga to extend the advantage. The Otago franchise was caught offside which saw the Crusaders awarded penalty which was taken by Slade. Another penalty was given and taken by Slade which saw them close in but this nailbiting match would end in favour of the Highlanders.