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Super Rugby: Schatz scores twice as Reds shock Highlanders
Jake Schatz scored twice as the Reds ended a miserable run of six defeats with a shock 38-31 home win against the Highlanders.
The victory, which also earned the home side a bonus point, was as hard-fought as the final score suggests and looked like being a draw until the Reds went through 16 phases of play from the halfway line to come up with their fifth try, through Schatz, to win it in injury time.
The home side had looked assured of success until late tries by Patrick Osborne and Fumiaki Tanaka had brought the teams level. What ensued was a frantic finish with Schatz snatching a dramatic and much-needed Reds win after the final hooter.
Playing in his 100th Super Rugby match, Will Genia kicked the conversion to end the match and with it, the Reds' losing streak.
Curtis Browning had opened the try scoring for the Reds, before Rod Davies made the most of a Lima Sopoaga fumble to register his team's second score.
Dominic Shipperley did superbly in following up a Genia chip to score in the corner and give the Reds a commanding 21-0 advantage at the break.
Sopoaga, who had earlier announced that he had penned a deal to move to Southland Stags in the ITM Cup, got the Highlanders on the scoreboard early in the second-half, but another Schatz try looked to have sealed it for the home side.
Richard Buckman gave Highlanders some hope with a try 22 minutes from time, before those two late scores from Osborne and Tanaka appeared to have earned them an improbable draw. Enter Schatz, though, with his clincher moving Reds off the foot of the table and into 13th place.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, did pick up two bonus points which is good enough to lift them into second in the New Zealand Conference and fourth overall.