Highlanders down Waratahs in Dunedin

· Super Rugby Trans-Tasman
by Waratahs Media

The NSW Waratahs have gone down 59-23 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The Waratah headed into the game with injuries forcing major disruption to the side after losing Ben Donaldson, and all three of their Wallaby props Harry Johnson-Holmes, Angus Bell and Te Tera Faulkner late in the week.

Andrew Tatola and Darcy Breen made their first starts of the season in the front row, while Vunipola Fifita joined the team at the captains run ahead of the match.

Despite the changes the Waratahs put up a strong fight in the first half, trading tries with the Highlanders with the lead changing five times.

The Highlanders got the first points of the match after a poor read in the midfield allowed Michael Collins to race away and score under the sticks.

The Waratahs hit straight back with a Will Harrison penalty goal before the flyhalf half set up a Jack Maddocks try with a beautiful cut out pass hitting his fullback on the outside of his defender and creating space out wide.

Both teams traded points with Tomkinson, De, Dixon and Nareki grabbing tries for the Highlanders, while Nawaqanitawase scored a try and Harrison added two more penalty goals to leave the score at 33-23 at the break.

It didn’t get any better in the second half for the Waratahs, as they failed to score a point and lost more players to injury, and the Highlanders raced away with four more tries.

Despite the result it was a special night for Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco and Vunipola Fifita who went on to make their Waratahs debuts.

The Waratahs now turn their attention to the final match of the season against the Chiefs at Brookvale Oval next Saturday.

HIGHLANDERS 59 (Tries: De 2, Nareki 2, Colins, Tomkinson, Dixon, Himeno, Ben-Nicholas Conversions: Hunt 7) defeated WARATAHS 23 (Tries: Maddocks, Nawaqanitawase Conversions: Harrison 2 Penalties: Harrison 2) at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

WARATAHS (1-15): Andrew Tuala, Dave Porecki, Darcy Breen, Jeremy Williams, Jack Whetton, Lachie Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Dempsey, Jake Gordon (c), Will Harrison, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks

Reserves: Robbie Abel, Vunipola Fifita, Chris Talakai, Sam Caird, Will Harris, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Jack Grant, Tane Edmed

HIGHLANDERS: (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Ash Dixon (c), Siate Tokolahi, Pari Pari Parkinson, Bryn Evans, James Lentjes, Billy Harmon, Kazuki Himeno, Kayne Hammington, Mitch Hunt, Jona Nareki, Scott Gregory, Michael Collins, Sio Tomkinson, Josh Ioane

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Hohneck, Josh Dickson, Hugh Renton, James Arscott, Sam Gilbert, Teariki Ben-Nicholas