The Highlanders hosted the Chiefs in sudden death rugby at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Who ever losses will probably call their season a disappointment. All I know is it will be played at a million miles an hour.
The game started with a controversial no try to the Patrick Osborne for the Highlanders. The TMO saw a foot on the line that no one else… on the planet… could see. That didn’t stop either team running everything from everywhere. After the first quarter of the game the Highlanders had probably had the better of the play. The scrums were dead even and so was the scoreboard at 3-3.
Then Aaron Smith ran to the right from a midfield scrum and caught the chiefs winger in a two on one with Naholo. Smith drew the winger and passed to Naholo who drew and passed back. Smith drew and passed back for Naholo to finish off. It was very pretty to watch.
The next poor decision followed moments later when Chris Pollock called play on after being hit by the ball. Moments later the Chiefs won and kicked a penalty that should never have happened.
The Chiefs won a penalty in front of the posts after the hooter for half time. The tree points left them with the lead at oranges. They lead 9-8.
The Highlanders burst out of the tunnel (yes I stole it) and bolted down the field to attack the Chiefs line pulling up centermetres short but winning a five metre scrum. Aaron Smith cleared the ball quickly and ran to the blind… again ran to the hole and found Naholo… again! TRY! And converted. Highlanders in front again 15-9.
Right on the 60 minute mark the Chiefs scored to hold on to the Highlanders who had snuck out to a 18-9 lead. Retallick barged over after multiple pick and goes from the Chiefs the conversion slipped away from the left post to have the Highlanders in front 18-14 with 18 minutes to go.
The Highlanders kicked another penalty to lead 21-14 but with only seven points in it it was still anyones game. Both teams were still playing the game at lightning pace. With five minutes to go both teams supporters were on the edges of their seats and Forsyth Barr stadium was in a frenzy. The Chiefs have dominated territory but the Hurricanes have defended their hearts out.
With a minute left the Highlanderss were in Chiefs territory working towards a field goal when the Chiefs infringed at a ruck to give them a shot from directly in front. The Highlanders won 24-14.
The Game Changer
The TMO decision in the opening moments needs to be talked about. I watched every replay and could see no indication of the referees final decision. Have we handed too much power to a man in front of a TV screen? Is it time to take some decisions away from the TMO?[/one_third]
The G&GR MOTM
There were players all across the park on both sides but tonight I think Aaron Smith stood up and I’m giving him out Man of the match.
All Black watch
Liam Messam seems to be a penalty magnet this year. How will this effect his All Black chances? Waisake Naholo must be a chance of getting a call up tomorrow. Surely he’s a chance?
Score & Scorers
[one_half last=”no”]Highlanders: 24
Tries: W Naholo 2
Conversions: L Sopoaga
Penalties: L Sopoaga 4
[one_half last=”yes”]Chiefs: 14
Tries: B Retallick
Penalties: A Horrel 3
Cards & citings