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- 3rd Mar 2012
- KO 06:35
- Ground: Forsyth Barr, Dunedin
Highlanders v Crusaders - Live
Full time Thunderous scrum from the visitors... but the scrum is reset this time. The stadium clock now seems to be the same as that on our monitors, finally! Either way, this is the final play. Scrum is set, in the ball goes, out to Slade, out to touch, and NOW the party begins in Dunedin! The Highlanders take the derby spoils in a fabulous match! Crusaders are understandably miffed about the stadium clock farce though, watch this space for more on that - it dominated a finale which ought to have been about the game - did Bleyendaal think time was up when he went for the drop goal for example? we'll see... but for now, cheers from Dunedin!
79 From the drop out, Romano into the midfield, he's lost it, and Slade once again thumps it into touch, and once again the stadium clock is ahead of the referee! This is farcical! But the Highlanders now have a scrum, surely Slade will knock this one out and have it third time lucky?
78 So it's a Crusaders line-out, out to Bleyendaal, a drop goal... wide! That's a curious decision too! Surely build a bit more of an innings before doing that?
77 Read takes in from the drop out, but he's had it stripped from him! Can the home side close this game out? Close-range phases, furious physical onslaught at the rucks now! And we have a big problem here, the stadium clock says 80 minutes, so Slade thumps it into touch. the stadium erupts, but Jaco Peyper calmly says three minutes to go... here's a big controversy!
76 Howling derision from the crowd... it's slipped under the bar! Remember Leigh Halfpenny's kick in the RWC semi-final? Just like that - half the stadium thought he'd nailed it!
75 Messy scrumming brings a stiuff word from referee Jaco Peyper, who has also been excellent this game. He now pings Chris King for closing his bind and Bleyendaal considers a long shot... he's going for it! 54m out...
73 Bleyendaal sniping on a loop down the middle, he should have given that wide, instead he slips it forward and inside and gets thundered to the turf by Ellison for his pains. There's a learning experience right there!
72 Sopoaga smacks the restart a mile downfield, Crusadersmust rebuild from their own half now.
70 Wonderful CONVERSION by SOPOAGA! 27-24, the atmosphere cranks up another notch!
69 From the line-out, Gear into the Crusaders' 22, back wide to Popoali'i, Thomson carries again, Manu steps, momentum building once more, out it goes wide to Gear, a step, a scamper, he's home!! TRY HIGHLANDERS! 25-24!
67 Turnover Crusaders in the middle - their fringe defence work in the second half has been wonderful. But a turnover back, Sopoaga puts in a long kick, Popoali'i chasing.... Guildford just there in time!
65 He's got it! PENALTY CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! It's 24-20 and for all the Highlanders' good play, they are 14-0 down this half and need to start converting pressure to points.
64 Burleigh thunders into the midfield, but Haskell is pinged for going off feet and Bleyendaalhas a long shot to extend the lead...
62 Tackle held up enough by the Highlanders, turns it into a maul, and they've won back the ball!
60 He's pushed it right, and overall, that's a massive let-off for the Crusaders, who still have the lead.
59 A white card for the punch, and Sopoaga lines up a three-pointer, but this was perhaps a moment to push the momentum home... anyway, for the lead, on the hour mark...
58 Driven to a metre out, Crosswell again, it's another 5m scrum, this one more central so there's options both sides. But touchjudge advice leads to a penalty to the Highlanders for an Owen Franks punch.
57 Gear goes hard off the scrum, Crosswell drives on - another who's had an outstanding game. Hore to Smith, to Murray, snap back to Gear, but this is great defence!
56 Thomson wins a brilliant turnover! Highlanders immediately on the front foot, Hore drives on, Haskell, Thomson over the line! But he's held up by Ellis. What a game this is!
55 Immediate reaction from Jamie Joseph, who sends on Rutledge, Murray and Retallick to bolster the pack.
54 Over it goes! PENALTY CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! It's 20-21!
53 The pace of this game is just fantastic, all moves are at high speed, all tackles being made, rucks are vigorous. It's awonderful match. Crockett steams on to the Highlanders 22 and wins a penalty, Bleyendaal goes for a shot, the Crusadersmight have the lead back here. Big momentum shift.
50 Guildford sent away down the left, Popoali'i does well to recover and tackle. Guildford has been electric since he came on.
48 Haskell on for his Highlanders debut. Hore makes a brilliant turnover too - the Highlanders now have a scrum on the Crusaders 22.
47 We see a replay now and Ellis did score - controversy abates. Bleyendaal misses an easy conversion though, and it's still 20-18 to the Highlanders.
46 Home side building again, but Mackintosh loses a stray pass, Fruean hacks ahead, ball regained, good attacking position but the ball from Whitelock's ruck is slow. Ball out to whitelock, a half-break, Guildford, inside to ellis, he's over... did he drop it? No TMO call! TRY CRUSADERS, ELLIS, but the home crowd is livid, they wanted TMO!
44 Some sub news, Corey Flynn is on at hooker for the visitors and Zac Guildford is on for Marshall - with Dagg moving to full-back presumably, although for the moment, Guildford is there.
43 Another turnover ball for Manu at a counter-ruck... but the Crusaders JUST rescue it and win a penalty, dubious one that one.
42 Smith tidies up well at a line-out, Hore once again takes the ball good metres, he's having a superb game. But the Crusaders are better around the fringes and force the ball to touch.
41 That's a super kick! PENALTY CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL, 20-13! Perfect start for the visitors.
Second half We're away again and Hore has the Highlanders picking up where they left off, on the front foot. But a curious crossing penalty - Hardie pinged for having his decoy line too deep! Odd one, but Bleyendaal can reduce the arrears...
Half time What a game! Highlanders ruling at the moment, but the break might stuff their momentum, we all know how dangerous the Crusaders can be, now we will see their mettle. 20-10 at the break, do not leave your screens, this second half will be awesome.
40 Sopoaga adds the extras from the touchline! Brilliant kick! CONVERSION HIGHLANDERS, 20-10!
39 Smith snaps back to the short side and Burleigh breaks on a good outers line, he's to the corner! TRY HIGHLANDERS! BURLEIGH!
38 Highlanders going hard through the phases, working the ball into the 22, but a big hit on Popoali'i now stymies the momentum, time to reset and go again, Hore takes it on... the Highlanders need to make this count before the break.
37 Penalty to the home team now for not releasing in a tackle, Sopoaga punts it to the Crusaders 22.
35 Boooosssshhh! Marshall is flattened by Gear, the ball squirts loose and Fruean has to desperately cover! What a hit!
34 Another Crusaders mistake, a knock-on at the drop-out ball contest, another threatening set-piece position for the home side... but Chris King coughs up a penalty this time and the Crusaders clear.
32 Sopoaga's kick just drifts left, it had the legs. Bleyendaal lines up the 22.
31 Now the Highlanders win a penalty at the scrum... Sopoaga fancies this one, and Mackintosh is delighted - he feels avenged for conceding three earlier!
30 Ooohhh, Bleyendaal puts the restart out on the full, is that a symptom of the Crusaders feeling the pressure? They need half-time more at the moment.
29 No mistake! PENALTY HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA, 13-10!
28 Gear, then Hore leading the latest blue drive, this one's earned a penalty well within range against Ben Franks for not rolling.
26 Another steal by the Highlanders back row, they're ruling at the moment. Hardie breaks again, he turns to offload but finds only a retreating Todd. Hardie is having a cracking game.
25 Highlanders building the phases again around halfway, Gear makes a mini-break up to the 10m, then a good kick to the corner by Sopoaga. Crusaders make a hash of the line-out and Ellis concedes territory with a rushed kick... but it was half-charged and so the Crusaders have a clearing line-out again.
23 Hardie breaks! Flying into the Crusaders 22, what pace! He just can't find Thomson with the scoring pass and it goes forward. But what a line and timing from Hardie off Sopoaga!
22 Welcome back to Dunedin Tom Donnelly, he's just been monstered by Bekhuis and Hardie!
21 Mackintosh is popped up from a scrum again - he's being worked overby Franks. Harsh penalty here against Smith for sealing off - that looked like a good clean. Bleyendaal puts to touch in the Highlanders 22.
19 Whew! what a five minutes! we have Bekhuis down in midfield to give us a breather - he actually looks in a lot of pain - but this is a mesmerising game, you cannot take eyes off! Bekhuis is up, and ambling over to a line-out. Quarter of the game gone, all aquare, and all-in at the moment!
18 Sopoaga adds the extras! CONVERSION, it's 10-10!
17 The game explodes into life! Burleigh breaks in the midfield and offloads deftly to Thomson, who gets to 5m out, a short pop pass and Hore is over! TRY HIGHLANDERS, HORE!
16 Easy CONVERSION, BLEYENDAAL, 10-3!
15 Fruean and Todd cmobine brilliantly and the flanker is away! Out to Dagg for a simple finish! TRY CRUSADERS, DAGG!
14 Ben Smith draws a roar from the crowd by sparking a counter attack, but it's spoiled when Ellison leaves a Sopoaga pass for a winger who wasn't there! Line-out Crusaders in a threatening position.
12 Highlanders building some momentum around halfway, but untidy ball at the ruck is knocked on by scrum-half Smith - no doubt with Cowan watching interestedly.
11 No mistake this time! PENALT CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! 3-3!
10 Pressure tells this time, as Tamati Ellison puts a wayward hand into a ruck, Bleyendaal with another chance...
8 Adam Whitelock sets Marshall away from the 22, out to Fruean who is looking dangerous today. Back the ball comes inside, but it's turned over, and the Highlanders are working their way up to half way - neither team seems to want to resort to kicking but the D's are sharp, it's making for compelling phase rugby.
6 First scrum ends in a penalty to the Crusaders, as well as a happy slap session between Thomson and Sam Whitelock, and a huge grin and wink from Jamie Mackintosh, who has just been bettered and is already plotting revenge. Bleyendaal pushes the kick right.
5 Highlanders building phases from the restart again as well, but after eight or so, the ball is stolen. Bleyendaal into the midfield, then the ball is snapped back for Fruean, but the pass just too far in front.
3 He has! PENALTY HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 3-0!
2 They've earned a penalty centrally on the 22 after 14 phases, excellent play led by cap'n Mackintosh. Surely Sopoaga will give the early lead...
Kick-off Hmmm... 'Flower of Scotland' to accompany Highlanders onto the pitch? You'd think there was a better song than the Scottish national anthem? Anyway, Jaco peyper gets us underway to a massive roar and a deep kick-off is fielded and cleared by Ellis. Not to touch, and the Highlanders begin to build the phases.
Team news For the Crusaders, Zac Guildford is back on the bench, with the contents of his water bottle under close scrutiny. Adam Whitelock is in at twelve for the lame Ryan Crotty, otherwise it's the same team that squeaked past the Blues last week.
Team news Highlanders team news first, with the big story being the dropping - and thus continued fall from grace - of Jimmy Cowan. He sits the bench, alongside his World Cup team-mate Colin Slade, only now recovered from the injury that cut his tournament short. Lima Sopoaga, who was impressive at times last year, wears ten.
Welcome Welcome to New Zealand's deep south for a south Island derby full of early-season significance for both teams. Having both secured opening-day derby wins last week, a second win here will put them at the summit of the New Zealand conference, a handy position to be in no matter what the time of year. A word too about this new Dunedin stadium: AWESOME! (my first time here)
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