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Reds stay in play-off race
Late onslaught not enough for Highlanders
The Reds remain in the hunt to claim a Super Rugby play-off place after a 19-13 win over the Highlanders.
The defending champions had to survive a late onslaught in Brisbane, though, as the Highlanders threatened to deliver a knockout blow.
Mike Harris landed 14 points with the boot, while James Slipper scored the only try for the home side to keep them in the final wild card spot.
The Highlanders, with trailed 16-3 and 19-8, scored tries through Adam Thomson and Chris King - but they just couldn't snatch the winner at the death.
And the defeat means the Highlanders - who won five of their opening six games - are now out of the play-off mix.
There was little to choose between the sides in the first half with Harris slotting over two penalties to one attempt from Mike Delany for the Highlanders.
Harries added a third on 48 minutes before the Australia international tagged on the extras when Slipper appeared unmarked on the right wing to score.
At 16-3 up, the Reds looked on course for the win - however Thomson's try gave the visitors renewed hope.
Harris was on target with another penalty before King burrowed over to set up a thrilling finale.
The Highlanders continued to press for the decisive score but desperate defence from the Reds denied them.
"It was very tough and we made it very hard for ourselves at times and credit to the Highlanders, they put a lot of pressure on us with their pick and go," said Reds skipper Will Genia.
"It's a massive game for us next week against the Waratahs, our season is on the line so we have to prepare as good as we can and put in a good performance next Saturday."Super 15. Click here to bet.