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Highlanders v Hurricanes - Live
HIGHLANDERS 35-31 HURRICANES
80 All on the line as the ball is lost in the tackle by the Canes - the Highlanders hanging on for the win! A slow burning first half developed nicely in the second with the introduction of Taylor and the Canes chasing the scoreboard. Thrilling stuff.
78 TRY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 35-31: Possession going the hosts way until the Canes turn the ball over on halfway. Leiua scrambling up to the 22. Ball stripped by Perenara and Barrett scores in the corner! Is their time for the win? Barrett's drop goal conversion doesn't make it.
76 Canes fighting the clock now as they try to break out of their 22, with the advantage. All their endeavour though ends with a lineout to the Highlanders. The result looks safe, but a losing bonus point isn't out of range yet.
74 TRY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 35-26: Highlanders with some welcome territory as Tanaka directs traffic. Parker back in the pocket for a drop goal but it's well short and the Canes counter with a wonder try! Taylor looking up and making the break to halfway, passing to Perenara who releases Barrett for the score. Gap cut to nine.
72 Canes are relentless right now! Another huge attack with Levave carrying well, but it's the same old script - the Highlanders winning that breakdown penalty with a fine tackle from Manu. Huge defensive work from the hosts.
70 All the pressure on the Highlanders but they win the penalty at the breakdown at such a crucial time. Cleared.
68 YELLOW CARD, HIGHLANDERS, HOEATA! Canes five metres out from the try line and win a penalty, Hoeata sent to the bin.
66 Dixon on for Coles as a Canes attack ends in a knock-on. Smith slices his kick, so the pressure stays on the hosts.
64 Raft of changes as Diaz, Ioane, Tanaka and Parker all come on for the hosts. Highlanders pinged for not rolling away, Barrett finds a deep touch.
62 TRY, HURRICANES, FRANKS! 35-19: Possession all for the visitors now as J.Savea reaches the 22. Penalty for a high tackle, tapped by J.Savea. Franks goes close, the ball though isn't coming out of there. Another penalty as the hosts weren't back 10 metres - tapped again. Franks this time gets over for the try.
58 Canes in possession as Thomson loses it in contact - A.Smith tiptoeing his way down the touchline but his foot is out. Canes lineout in the opposition half.
55 TRY, HIGHLANDERS, OSBORNE! 35-12: Intercept score for the winger! Canes having to force it now and Parkes floats a pass that seemingly hangs forever in the air until Osborne snatches it and races home. Game over. Sopoaga converts.
53 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 28-12: He's on fire. Seventh penalty of the night for Sopoaga and the Highlanders are nearly out of sight.
52 Territory battle ends in favour of the Highlanders. Long throw from Robinson to Treeby, who is on for Burleigh, as the Highlanders look to build their lead. Penalty - Sopoaga going for goal.
49 TRY, HIGHLANDERS, BURLEIGH! 25-12: Canes scrum is on top as they turn the ball over and clear, but the Highlanders come straight back. Sopoaga through a gap and looks for A.Smith for the try-scoring pass, but Perenara intercepts. Cleared but B.Smith runs it back, interlinking with A.Smith who feeds Burleigh for the first try! Nice score from the hosts. Sopoaga converts.
47 All the Canes so far in this half. More possession as Reddish carries well but the ball is lost. Hospital pass to C.Smith who is clattered by Fekitoa, Highlanders winning the scrum in the process.
45 PENALTY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 18-12: Barrett adds his fourth kick of the night to bring the Canes within six points.
43 Ball is run back by Osborne and B.Smith but Robinson is offside there, obviously too. Canes penalty, cleared to halfway. Lineout taken and C.Smith hits a gap! Big run sticks the Canes in opposition territory. Into the 22, advantage played. The visitors take the penalty and Barrett will go for goal. Much more direct from the Canes and it paid off.
42 Canes trying to work an opening but still in their own half. End result is a scramble with a Canes lineout deep in their 22. Barrett clears.
41 Both sides back out for the second half, as Barrett restarts.
HIGHLANDERS 18-9 HURRICANES
40 Hooter sounds as the Canes lose possession and B.Smith boots it into touch. That's the end of a first half dominated by penalties but with plenty of entertainment from both sides - but no tries.
38 B.Smith trying to work some magic but the ball is knocked on. Time running out on the first half and a final attacking opportunity for the Canes.
37 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 18-9: Another top strike from the fly-half. Comfortable lead now for the hosts.
35 Howler of a pass from Barrett ends in a breakdown penalty for the Highlanders, who tap and go. Kicks exchanged ends with a penalty for a no-arm tackle. Sopoaga lining up his sixth penalty.
34 Top work at the scrum from Franks, splintering Fia and winning the penalty which Barrett kicks to touch. Big runs from the two Saveas and the Canes win a scrum five metres out down on the near side. Best chance yet.
32 High kick from Smith and Banks is pounced upon by Osborne, who forces the knock on. Highlanders scrum, dead central, just outside the 22.
31 PENALTY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 15-9: He makes it look so easy. 48 metres out and Barrett smashes it over.
30 Canes clear and then go one better by winning a penalty in the opposition half after Barrett's bomb. Top work at the ruck. Barrett lining up a long-range kick.
28 Attacking phase for the Highlanders, carrying up to the 22. Forward pass however down that far side so the Canes will have a scrum. Burleigh impressing but that pass is forward.
26 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 15-6: Scrum penalty to the Highlanders as the Canes detach too early. Bar his early miss Sopoaga's kicking has been excellent, as he makes his fifth penalty.
24 Moment of brilliance from J.Savea from the kickoff as he regathers, but it's a Highlanders penalty. Smith clears to touch over halfway. Bomb from Barrett and Leiua knocks on.
23 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 12-6: Again the Canes are pinged at the breakdown within range of their posts, Franks the culprit and penalised for holding on. Sopoaga makes it four from five.
20 PENALTY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 9-6: Gap cut to three by Barrett. Lam will not return after failing his concussion test, so Thomson replaces him.
18 Good run from Leiua has the Canes on the attack. Outside the 22 and using the forwards, advantage played. Back we come for the kick after 10-15 phases of the Canes probing for a gap.
16 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 9-3: Canes really struggling with their discipline at the breakdown as they again go offside. Sopoaga lands his third penalty from four attempts.
13 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 6-3: ...as the hosts go back ahead, tricky kick for Sopoaga out to the right but he lands it.
12 Scattered, rapid passage of play ends with a Highlanders penalty for offside. Lam down for treatment after a poorly executed tackle. Thomson warming up...
11 Pressure at the breakdown on the Canes in their 22, as Perenara clears. Thorn with a lumbering run! The 39-year-old gets through a gap but possession is lost and the Canes clear.
9 PENALTY, HURRICANES, BARRETT! 3-3: Christie goes offside from a clearance kick and the Canes, after no possession or field position, go level through Barrett's 35-metre strike.
7 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 3-0: That's better from the fly-half. Highlanders with 94 percent territory so far.
6 Bouncing grubber from Burleigh gives Barrett little time and the ball goes into touch, Highlanders working the territory well early on. From right to left as Osborne beats a pair of tacklers. Up to ten metres out, up to ten phases and the penalty comes for offside against Franks. Sopoaga with another chance, even closer this time.
4 Sopoaga somehow misses the easiest of penalty kicks, hitting the left post from within the 22. Canes to drop out through Barrett.
3 Good box kick from Perenara but the Canes remain in their own half. Promising start from the Highlanders and C.Smith fails to roll away, handing Sopoaga a simple kick.
1 Canes work the ball well near the touchline and then clear through Banks, rusty kick. Highlanders on the front foot and Burleigh threads a kick into touch at the 22.
A moment's silence before kickoff to mark the passing of former All Blacks captain Frank Oliver. Sopoaga gets us underway.
No need to worry about the conditions with the roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, as Conrad Smith leads out the visitors.
Team news: Former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn returns to the Highlanders starting XV. Tighthead prop Ma'afu Fia gets his first start of the 2014 season in the front-row, taking over from Chris King. Phil Burleigh will also receive his first start at 12 for the season ahead of Shaun Treeby. Patrick Osborne returns from a high ankle injury to start on the wing.
Team news: The Hurricanes have made three enforced changes to their starting XV. Injuries to full-back James Marshall (toe) and number eight Blade Thomson (neck) have forced coach Mark Hammett to shuffle his team. Marty Banks returns at full-back while Andre Taylor has a chance of making his first appearance of the Super Rugby season off the bench.A reshuffle to the loose forwards sees Faifili Levave shift to number eight as Jack Lam returns to the back-row. Jeremy Thrush is unavailable due to a personal commitment so James Broadhurst starts.
Hello and welcome to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for our coverage of the first Super Rugby clash of the weekend. It should be a cracker between two attack-minded teams. The Hurricanes are on a high after last week's big win over the Cheetahs - can they do it again in their first game against Kiwi opposition?
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|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
There was loads of great rugby to enjoy over the weekend including a masterclass from New Zealand!
Munster were last crowned PRO12 champions in 2011 and since then have seen their fierce rivals Leinster leading the way as far as the Irish teams are concerned.
So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com