Despite a late fightback from their opponents, the Highlanders held on for a 30-26 victory over the Waratahs in their Super Rugby encounter in Sydney on Friday. The visitors put on a dominant first half performance as they were all over their hosts opening the scoring in the 11th minute through Ryan Tongia who used his pace to cross the line for the opening try. In the 29th minute Liam Squire broke the line and dotted down and minutes later Elliot Dixon was over the line after he received it on the bounce to score his side’s third of the night.
Lima Sopoaga chipped in with two conversions and a penalty in the on- sided action-packed opening 40 minutes to take a 22-0 lead at the whistle. In the second stanza Dixon and Sopoaga started the scoring with a try and drop goal respectively to stretch ahead to 30-0. The Tahs found their feet and mustered up an attacking opportunity that was converted by Kurtley Beale after some steady possession saw Jed Holloway break through and go over the whitewash for their first points of the match.
A fightback was on as Holloway completed his hat-trick and Tom Robertson powered over the line as the home side closed the gap to just four points without a reply from their opponents. Despite the comeback the Otago side stood firm in the closing stages of the match to hold on for a 30-26 victory. The result sees Jamie Joseph’s side move into second place in the Australasian Conference on 12 points and their cross-Tasman rivals move into sixth adding just one point to their tally.