It’s the first match of Round 2 in the 2019 Super Rugby Season at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
From there, the Highlanders hosts the Queensland Reds as the visitors made their way from Brisbane, Australia.
Reds fullback Bryce Hegarty opened the proceedings with the kick-off as the 1st half is underway.
The Highlanders front row trio of Ayden Johnstone, Tyrel Lomax & Josh Dickson failed to roll the ball away.
In return, Hegarty immediately opened the account with the penalty kick into the goal for the Reds’ first three points.
The Reds’ poor defense with the ruck saw the Highlanders crack down the right-hand side via the short balls as Rob Thompson scored the TRY.
Josh Ioane converted the two extra points with the Highlanders lead the Reds, 7-3 by the eighth minute.
Jordan Petaia’s deliberate knock-on saw Highlanders’ Fly-Half Josh Ioane capitalized on his 2nd successful kick for three points.
By the halfway stage in the 1st Half, Reds remained patient with their set phase play.
The strategy from scrum-half Moses Sorovi to go out wide towards the right helped the Reds escape the Highlanders on the run home.
Taniela Tupou’s short ball pass helped Chris Feauai-Sautia unleash his pace past the Highlanders’ defense before Hegarty levels 10-10 via the conversion kick.
Twelve minutes before the break, Shannon Frizell sneaked past the Reds’ defense thanks to the help from Jackson Hemopo & Luke Whitelock via the cleanout as the Highlanders moved past the Reds by seven points.
In the 32nd minute, Matt Faddis’s thrilling chase may have held short by the Reds’ defense.
But the strategy to move up towards the left-side saw Ben Smith finish off with the TRY for the Highlanders.
Though, the Reds’ bounced back within two minutes of the 1st half when a strong line-out allowed them to make up lost time.
That way from the halfway meter line, Scrum-Half Moses Sorovi pulled off fast as he settled the Reds’ 2nd TRY of the night.
Half-Time: Highlanders 24-17 Queensland Reds
The Highlanders immediately fired off with a patient set phase attack as Ayden Johnstone & Dillon Hunt successfully pushed the Reds’ defense away, so Shannon Frizell secured the TRY.
In the 48th minute, the Reds took advantage of the turnover via a mistake from Teihorangi Walden.
From there, Bryce Hegarty unleased his pace going past the halfway line before the Reds settled quickly with the third TRY from Issac Rodda from the help of Moses Sorovi.
Fly-Half Hamish Stewart took over the kicking duties from Hegarty having kicked successfully into the posts for the two points, Highlanders 29-24 Reds.
In the 57th minute, the Reds may have fumbled a ball a bit, but the referee played on the far left side.
Without any interruption, Prop Feao Fotuaika added another Reds’ TRY on his Super Rugby debut before Stewart put the visitors out in front by two points via a successful conversion ahead of the Highlanders.
With eight minutes to go, Matt Faddis’s other fairytale run sparked a massive threat to the Reds’ defense.
Ben Smith may have fallen a bit short before the Highlanders changed their tactics on the far left side as Dillon Hunt helped reclaim the lead.
Josh Ioane’s successful two-point goal set the Reds’ the last minute challenge to leapfrog the Highlanders by a converted try & win this game.
However, this plan failed when their poor line out saw Marty Banks kick out of the pitch as the Highlanders come from behind & win at home.