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Chiefs v Highlanders - Live
Full time CHIEFS 19-23 HIGHLANDERS
80 Robinson spots a gap and takes them to the half-way line. After another couple of darts, the Chiefs get a penalty and they take it quickly. The siren goes, but the Chiefs are still in possession. The Highlanders are too good in defence though and they win a penalty for not releasing. THAT IS THAT! They put the ball out and win the game. Brilliant comeback from the Highlanders.
79 The Chiefs secure the line-out ball, but the Highlanders' defence is once again SOLID AS A ROCK and they push the Chiefs over the touchline. Sloppy stuff from the Highlanders and there's a knock-on in the line-out. Big chance for the Chiefs as it is uncontested scrums. They swing it wide, but there's a poor pass and the Highlanders can put on some extra pressure. They are going backwards. The Highlanders have somehow managed to turn it over and they drive them back into their own half. The Chiefs still have possession though.
77 The Chiefs drive through, but the ball pops out to Gear. Mistake from the Highlanders though as they seal it off and it's a penalty to the Chiefs. Cruden sets up the line-out just inside the 22.
76 The Chiefs take it up, but the ball goes out in the farside and the Highlanders can reset again with a line-out. No surprises as Thomson takes line-out throw number 11. They have no interest in speeding up the game here.
74 Another line-out win for Thomson and the forawrds take it up strongly. He reallly has had a storming game. He is again involved, but there is a knock-on. The Highlanders have a man down, looks like Noakes. He is being helped off the field and on comes Limo Sopoaga. It will be uncontested scrums as replacement Toby Smith is forced off the field as well.
72 Thomson takes his ninth line-out, this time on the half-way line, and the Highlanders can build again. Slow build-up this time. Crosswell gets isolated and the Chiefs get a turnover, but Kahui undoes the hard work as he puts the ball out on the full.
70 The Chiefs take the throw quickly and Tikoirotuma gains a few metres. After they look to take it up, Taumalolo gets punished after a great tackle from Rutledge and the Highlanders can breathe out again.
69 The Chiefs get a penalty from the restart, but instead of going for the three points, they set up a line-out. They get another penalty and again they go for the line-out. Cruden puts it out five metres away from the line. What can they do here? The Highlanders don't contest as they look to defend. They hold it up. Brilliant, brilliant defence as they manage to turn it around. Noakes clears.
68 CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, NOAKES - 19-23. Noakes makes it a four-point game with the conversion.
66 TRY, HIGHLANDERS, BURLEIGH 19-21 - Well, well, well. Big turnaround in this game. The Highlanders get possession from the scrum, but they put in the high kick. The Chiefs gather the ball, but they are in awful mess. They look to clear, but his kick is charged down. The ball is sent to Burley and he has an easy run in.
64 Loose ball in the middle and there is some nice interpassing. The ball finally goes wide to Sonny Bill Williams. The crowd gets excited, but there was a foward pass earlier.
63 CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, NOAKES - 19-16 - It's a three-point game as Noakes puts over the two-pointer.
62 TRY, HIGHLANDERS, SMITH - 19-14 - Brilliant and well deserved try from the visitors. Thomson straightens the line and he pops it to Popoali'i. Popoali'i in turn throws a brilliant off load to Smith and he makes a few metres before stretching for the line. The Highlanders are back in this.
61 The Highlanders make a meal of the line-out and the Chiefs can start again. They decide to go for an up and under and the Highlanders come away with the ball. Thomson is driven back, but they can set it up again.
59 This could be a chance for the Highlanders as the Chiefs have really been disrupted with those injuries. The visitors take it wide and Thomson is on the wing. He looks to stretch for the line, but is bundled over the line. The Chiefs win the line-out and they can clear.
Injuries The Chiefs are all over the place here. Masaga and Leonard both look they have picked up serious injuries are are going off. Masaga's injury looks nasty. He twisted his knee there. Hopefully it is not too serious.
57 After a few phases, Cruden finally puts the boot in but Thomson waits for it and here come the HIghlanders again. Ellison gains a few metres. There's a little grubber and Popoali'i gathers, but the Chiefs drop back and they clear.
55 Lee carries it up after the line-out. Cruden gets clever with a chip, but the Highlanders gather and they can set it up again. Smith is in the backline and he takes it close to the 22 again. The Chiefs' defence has been tight though. Yeah, it was always going to happen as the Chiefs turn it over. Elliot carries it strongly forward.
53 After Cruden clears into touch, Thomson takes the line-out for the Highlanders and they can build again. Smith, on for Cowan, looks to take it up, but he knocks it on. The Chiefs lose possession from the scrum and Ellison makes a few metres from the Highlanders. Ellison is again involved on the far side, but he is smashed into touch.
51 PENALTY, CHIEFS, CRUDEN - 19-9 - It's a 10 point game as Cruden makes it five from five with a tidy kick from the right.
50 Smith clears into the Chiefs' half following the line-out, but that's giving possession back to the opponents. Lee, Elliot and company charge forward. They win the penalty after the Highlanders seal the ball off.
48 The scrum is a bit messy for the Highlanders and the Chiefs' forwards are all over them, but they get relief after the players go over their feet. They can clear their lines here.
47 Scrum to the Chiefs inside the 22. They go to the open side, but they leave the ball behind. The Chiefs somehow manage to regain possession, but Messam drops it and the Highlanders get the scrum this time.
45 The kick is out on the Highlanders' 10m line. Clean ball in the line-out and the Chiefs barge forward. The forwards are getting momentum. Just about every player is going over the advantage line. Leonard finally swings it wide. It's a big messy and the Chiefs are lucky that the Highlanders knocked it on.
42 The Highlanders finally swing it wide and Gear makes a few metres before it goes back through the middle. They've made it past the Chiefs' 10m line, but just as they start to look solid, they run into trouble. Sonny Bill Williams is there to win the turn-over. They don't release and it's a penalty to the Chiefs.
40 Oh dear! The Highlanders knock it on from the kick-off and the Chiefs can get on the front foot with a scrum just inside their opponents' half. Massive push from the visitors and they get the turnover. Mackintosh got a massive hit in there. The Higlanders keep possession and they take it through the middle
Second half We are off again as Cruden starts the second half.
Half time CHIEFS 16-9 HIGHLANDERS
40 Masaga scored the solitary try in the first-half to help the Chiefs to open a seven-point gap. Cruden, meanwhile, has kicked four from four. The hosts are looking good. Join us again in a bit for the second half.
40 Final scrum of the half coming up and the Highlanders will no doubt look to clear it. They bang it into touch, but the siren hasn't gone yet so the Chiefs get a line-out. The hosts look to make something from it, but knock it on. There goes the siren and the whistle is far behind. Half-time it is.
39 It's one again messy ball from the Highlanders after they take it through the middle. No surprises as they lose it forward. Leonard and Lee gain a few metres to put the Chiefs on the front foot. Lee is really making big yards for the hosts. The knock comes from SBW and the Highlanders can breathe again.
37 PENALTY, CHIEFS, CRUDEN - 16-9 - Cruden spots a hole and floats it to Masanga. It comes back in before they lose it forward. It's a penalty anyway as the Highlanders were off-side. Cruden makes it four from four from the left-hand side.
34 The Highlanders steal a ball in the line-out and Burleigh sends it high, but it's straight to Robinson and the Chiefs can carry it up again. The Highlanders are not helping themselves, are they?
32 PENALTY CHIEFS, CRUDEN. The Chiefs fly-half takes the resulting kick and the hosts stretch their lead to four points. 13-9 it is!
30 Brilliant stuff from the Chiefs' backline. Up and under and it's just outside the Highlanders' 22. Smith takes it, but it's man and ball as he takes a big hit from Masaga. Sonny-Bill is there to follow up and the Highlanders go off their feet. Penalty.
25 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS. Noakes with his third shot at goal... he hasn't missed any so far in this match and over goes another one! It's just a one-point ball game now folks! 9-10
23 Chiefs forced to defend their line as the Highlanders continue to attack through their forwards. Nasi Manu is brought down inches from the line - a Chiefs hand tries to dig the ball out. Penalty to the Highlanders.
19 Jimmy Cowan feeds his forwards - Josh Bekhuis rumbles forward, stays on his feet and the Highlanders get a maul going towards half-way.
16 Both sides giving the ball lots of air as Hosea Gear comes looking for work off his wing. The former Hurricanes flyer slips through one tackle, but gets sandwiched between Kahui and Williams. Crunch!
13 TRY, CHIEFS. Cruden tears down the touchline, steps inside before offloading to Richard Kahui who makes a dart for the line. He's hauled down 5m short. Ball recycled well though and spread wide to Lelia Masaga and the big winger powers his way over! Try!!!
11 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS. The Chiefs caught offsides, which will allow Noakes another chance at three points.... and the Highlanders pivot makes no mistake. Highlanders back in front! 3-6
9 Injury blow for the Chiefs now as prop Ben Afeaki leaves the field. On comes Toby Smith in his place.
7 Mackintosh takes it up again - leading from the front. However, the former All Black gets hit hard by Hika Elliot and spills the pigskin forward. Will the Chiefs counter-attack? It's perfect weather for running rugby. No, Robbie Robinson opts for touch instead. He has massive boot on him.
5 PENALTY, CHIEFS. Cruden lines it up from bang in front - easy does it, and we're all square in Hamilton! 3-3
4 First of the ball for Sonny Bill Williams as the big man shrugs off wo tacklers and makes a good 15m for his team. Liam Messam in support, but the ball gets ripped off the Chiefs captain - illegally it seems as the ref's arm goes up in favour of the hosts.
2 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS. Noakes strikes it well and over it goes, First blood to the Highlanders! 0-3
1 And under way! Aaron Cruden kicks off, taken in by Highlanders skipper Jamie Mackintosh who charges forward. Fritz Lee is pinged at the breakdown and the ref awards a penalty to the visitors. Chance at three points if Chris Noakes can find his target...
Team news Former Hurricanes hooker Andrew Hore and wing Hosea Gear feature in the Highlanders run-on side, as does centre Tamati Ellison. Buxton Popoali'i will make his first Highlanders start on the other wing.
Team news The team will be led by Liam Messam, who forms a strong back-row trio that has Sam Cane at openside and Fritz Lee packing down at eight. Hika Elliot has shrugged off a pre-season injury to start ahead of another new signing, Mahonri Schwalger, while Sona Taumalolo also gets in. New signings Robbie Robinson, Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Cruden have all been handed starts, with the latter alongside Brendon Leonard.
Preview Sonny-Bill Williams and Richard Kahui form one of the most deadly mid-field combinations in Super Rugby this season, with dynamo Aaron Cruden running the show at No.10. The Chiefs also have a new man in charge with Dave Rennie taking the reins as coach of the new-look franchise. The Highlanders turned in a strong showing in 2011 but are already facing a horrific injury toll. The Highlanders' injury problems are mainly in the backs, with Siale Piutau, Shaun Treeby and Kendrick Lynn all battling fitness concerns. The two teams met in a pre-season trial match won narrowly 38-36 by the Chiefs, and there's a feeling in Waikato that they could be the surprise packets this season.
Welcome! Hello and welcome to Hamilton for the Super Rugby opener between the Chiefs and Highlanders!
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