Live updates: Crusaders vs Highlanders - Super Rugby


FULL TIME: It was billed as one of the matches of the season and it lived up to it. What a play by Mitch Hunt after previously missing the match-winning penalty.

FULL TIME: What an incredible match and the Crusaders break the hearts of Highlander fans again! Mitch Hunt with one of the most remarkable plays I've seen in rugby and I've watched rugby for a very long time. Razor and co going off in the box.

84mins: That's one of the most remarkable plays I've ever seen. Mitch Hunt gets the ball back in the pocket, and pumps a 40 metre drop goal!!!!!

83mins DROP GOAL CRUSADERS: OMG, a 40m drop goal by Mitch Hunt.

82mins: Crusaders are just keeping it midfield. Lots of pick and go's. Whitelock makes 5m.

81mins: Crusaders just ebbing the ball up the field but the Highlanders defence is good. Still have the ball. 

80mins: Crusaders have the ball on the 10m line. Hooter's long gone

80mins: Hunt misses! 20 seconds to go.

79mins: Big pressure on Mitch Hunt here. Wow

78mins: Crusaders earn the penalty!!! That's possibly the play of the day by the collective Saders pack.

78mins: Crusaders take a maul and it's experience coming to the fray. A biiiiiig maul. Oustanding decision by the pack.

77mins: Sopoaga gets it underway again, Crusaders run it before Dagg boots it down field. Sopoaga runs it back before kicking it out on the full. Could be a costly error. Crusaders lineout on halfway.

76mins: Hunt knocks it over. What a finish we're in for.

75mins: You can feel the intensity at the breakdown and the Crusaders earn a penalty on the Highlanders 22m. Sam Whitelock looks to be down with an injury, another head knock by the looks. Mitch Hunt lines up the penalty.

74mins: Crusaders go quickly from a free kick and they're on attack down the left touchline.

73mins: A big floating ball from Malakai Fekitoa out wide from the scrum goes forward and it's now a Crusaders scrum. Not good match management at all from the Highlanders backline.

71mins: Crusaders knock a ball on from yet another Aaron Smith box kick and it's a Highlanders scrum on the Crusaders 10m line.

70mins: On halfway, Sopoaga gets his kick charged and it's Crusaders ball just in the Highlanders half. Ball turned over.

69mins: Crusaders go for a big maul but get pinged for crossing channels and obstruction. Penalty Highlanders and they get a chance to clear. Tom Franklin just giving it to the Crusaders. 

68mins: Another biiiiig scrum from the Crusaders and this time they do get the penalty. Mitch Hunt is on for Mo'unga and makes a great touch finder, just inside the Highlanders 22m.

67mins: A yuuuuuge scrum by the Crusaders and they're unlucky not to earn a penalty. Scrum reset 5 metres in the Crusaders half.

65mins: Both teams kick but it's Dagg that takes an Aaron Smith box kick on the half way line and the Crusaders have the ball. A tackle from a Highlander leads to a knock on and it's Saders' ball

64mins: Sopoaga grubbers it into the Crusaders 22 but Dagg runs it back and enables Bryn Hall to clear for the Crusaders. Landers ball about 25 out.

63mins: Highlanders keep the Crusaders in their own 22 and they're really under the pump. Dagg gets the ball in his own in goal but gets it back to the half way line. Naholo runs it back and it's Landers ball

62mins: A mistake in attack by the home team gifts the ball back to the Highlanders with Fekitoa kicking the ball down into the 22. A strip from Naholo leads to a knock on from Thompson. Scrum Crusaders inside their own 22.

61mins: A box kick hands the ball back to the Crusaders. Another Bridge run gets the Crusaders on the front foot. Saders are about 30m out from the Highlanders line.

60mins: Tamanivalu gets taken out and the Highlanders have a lineout on their own 22.

59mins: Strong run from George Bridge off the scrum gets the Crusaders close to the Landers 22. Slow ball means they stumble a little bit before a few pick and go's

57mins: Ben Smith has failed a concussion test and won't be back this afternoon.

57mins: Ben Smith still isn't back but Israel Dagg is on for the Crusaders. With the ball right on the halfway line, the Crusaders just try and take stock a bit. Ball dies over near the left touch line and it's a scrum Crusaders.

56mins: Highlanders have really found some defensive impetus and the Crusaders are now struggling for territory. A midfield Mo'unga kick and then Banks returning the favour means Crusaders have the ball in their own half again.

55mins: Crusaders uncharacteristically sloppy at the set piece and it's Highlanders ball. Banks tries to find some acreage but Crusaders clean up and have the ball in the middle of the park outside their 22.

54mins: Aaron Smith kicks a errant box kick after they win the lineout and it's a squandered opportunity. Crusaders lineout in their own half.

53mins: Both Dixons come on and the Highlanders earn a penalty after the kickoff. Banks finds touch just over the halfway line. How a game can turn!

52mins: Banks slots the conversion and the Highlanders now lead by 3, what a turnaround.

50mins TRY HIGHLANDERS: Crusaders have the ball in the Highlanders half off the lineout. Going wide on attack and Waisake Naholo takes an intercept and runs the 60m unhindered to the line!

49mins: Banks misses the conversion and Crusaders have the ball after the kickoff. Home team gets a penalty and Mo'unga drives it into Highlanders half.

46mins TRY HIGHLANDERS: Crusaders ball in their own half but there's a quick turnover after a strip from Thompson and after some football skills, Highlanders winger Naholo gets a try in the corner as Saders players slide all over the shop.

45mins: A knock on both ways and it's scrum Crusaders. Ben Smith looks like he's copped a head knock and could be on his way off for a HIA test. He walks off the field now.

45mins: Highlanders with an attacking lineout but a few miss passes see them going backwards back over the halfway line. Banks goes high but it's taken by Havili. Mo'unga goes high and it's Landers ball.

44mins: Crusaders with a great exit play again and Richie Mo'unga clears down to the 10m line.

43mins: The right call has been made, lineout Crusaders on their own line.

43mins: Thompson's out by a blade of grass. Brilliant tackle by Richie Mo'unga. Call hasn't been made yet, many replays being had by the TMO.

43mins: An intercept from the Highlanders off the back of the scrum and the Highlanders could be over in the corner through Aaron Smith. Going upstairs.

42mins: A bit of handbags as the scrum is reset. 

42mins: Cleared by Drummond but Highlanders with the ball on the Crusaders 10m line. Highlanders holding onto the ball. A measured start to the second half, but they then lose the ball midfield and it's Crusaders scrum on their own 22m.

40mins: Banks gets the game back underway.

HALFTIME: Teams back out on the field

HALFTIME ANALYSIS: Crusaders making easy ground in the first channel as the Highlanders are missing Elliot Dixon's defence around the scrums. Ryan Crotty has made a number of breaks in that channel.

HALFTIME 19-10: Highlanders probably had the better of the territory and the possession but the Crusaders made their chances count. Three tries to one but it's still anyone's game.

40mins: Highlanders get a free kick from the scrum and go wide. Big phase play but once again they can't make a break and Fekitoa coughs up the ball. Ref blows his whistle. That's half time.

40 mins: 30 seconds to go and the Crusaders drop the ball. Highlanders have an attacking scrum about 30 metres out.

39mins: Mo money Mo'unga converts the penalty, Crusaders get some breathing room 19-10.

38mins TRY CRUSADERS: That just came from nowhere. Hamish Bedwell-Curtis just after the bin. Crusaders went wide and a missed tackle or two by the Highlanders earn a mismatch down the blind side.

37mins: Highlanders have managed to sort out their defence and keep the Crusaders on their 22m. Drummond goes for the box kick nicely taken by Smith but the Crusaders drive over and get the turnover.

36mins: Straight over the black dot, 12-10 still to the Crusaders. Bedwell-Curtis back from the bin.

35mins: The Crusaders go wide to the other side of the field with Codie Taylor making the big pass. But a Sader gets isolated and the Highlanders earn a penalty on the attacking 22. This time Bender and Banks think alike, heading for the sticks.

34mins: Highlanders go with the box kick to the Crusaders 22 and Mo'unga replies in kind. Highlanders ball on the Saders 22m. They grubber it into the Saders 22 but they retain possession.

33mins: Havili takes it in the first channel and the Crusaders are hot on attack but they give up a penalty and the Highlanders can relieve.

32mins: Highlanders take the kickoff on their 22 but can't clear the maul and Crusaders get a turnover + attacking scrum.

31mins: Kick converted by Banks and it's 12-7.

30mins TRY HIGHLANDERS: They take advantage of some narrow defence from the Crusaders and Marty Banks throws a beautiful wide pass to Ben Smith who gives it to the Barracuda who saunters in and dots it down.

29mins: A knock on in defence by the Crusaders and it's an attacking scrum to the Landers. Both teams have a bit of a breather.

29mins: Fekitoa makes an outstanding break after receiving a chip kick from Mo'unga. Highlanders hot on attack but the Crusaders defense recovers.

28mins: A pause in play as Matt Todd gets a bit of attention for some blood. Crusaders lineout near the halfway line. 

27mins: Highlanders struggling to get any go-forward and they're being outmuscled by the Crusaders. Ben Smith gets isolated about 10m out and Matt Todd once again earns a penalty.

25mins: Great defence again by the Crusaders but there's another penalty at the breakdown and Glen Jackson goes to the pocket. Crusaders' Bedwell-Curtis gets a yellow! Highlanders penalty about 5m out. They take the scrum.

23mins: Marty Banks secures a penalty at the breakdown, I don't type that often! He knocks the penalty into touch. Highlanders lineout inside the Crusaders 22m. Score still 12-0.

22mins: Highlanders are having to work very hard at the breakdown and the Crusaders defense is amazing. A Whitelock tackle forces the loose ball and the Saders are back on attack.

21mins: On the halfway line, on attack the Crusaders are penalised for obstruction. Banks goes for touch and the Landers have a lineout on the Saders 22m.

20mins: Matt Todd is just something else at the breakdown. Straight off the lineout, gets in there low and secures the penalty for the Saders. Mo'unga relieves some pressure.

19mins: Highlanders get a penalty as the Crusaders are just too keen at the breakdown. Bender points to the sticks but Banks goes for touch, not sure what was said there.

17mins: Highlanders just struggling to keep the ball under the Crusaders fast rushing defense. Naholo trying hard and getting to second receiver a few times. Another chip kick from Banks but Crusaders secure the ball. They can't secure the next pass and it's Highlanders lineout just outside their attacking 22.

16mins: Mo'unga misses the conversion but they're up 12-0 and they're looking good. Great afternoon rugby!

15mins TRY CRUSADERS: Great ball off the lineout sees yet another break, then in the second phase, Jack Goodhue makes a biiiiiiiiig pass out wide to Seta Tamanivalu and he goes over in the corner. Too quick, too good.

14mins: Crusaders dab through a grubber into the Landers 22 and Ben Smith picks it up and clears it only to their 10m.

13mins: Ryan Crotty makes a break after the scrum and the Saders are hot on attack again! Just outside the Highlanders 22m.

12mins: Scrappy ball at the back of the scrum sees Smith knock it on. A great position squandered by the Highlanders.

11mins: Highlanders attacking on the Crusaders 22 but they can't secure the ball at the breakdown and Ryan Crotty does superbly. Havili takes the ball down the blind side but drops it as he looks to offload. Highlanders attacking scrum just outside the Saders 22m.

10mins: Faddes takes a great ball in the air after a box kick from Drummond. Penalty to Landers after Jordan Taufua didn't roll away. Banks drives the ball into the Saders half.

9mins: Crusaders get a penalty but Mo'unga can't find touch inside the Landers 22. Banks gets a great clearing kick into the Saders half. That's 2 kicking errors from Mo'unga in the opening 10. Lineout Saders on their own 10.

7mins: Sam Whitelock turns the ball over brilliantly and the ball immediately goes wide. Seta Tamanivalu takes the ball over the Highlanders half and a pass goes awry. What a frenetic start. Lineout Highlanders on their own 10m line.

6mins: A Mo'unga restart from the ensuing 22m goes out on the full so we have a Highlanders scrum on the 22. Smith makes a break from the scrum and the Landers are hot on attack.

5mins: Highlanders recover the ball on the Crusaders 10m after the kick off and they make a break through James Lentjes. Inside the 22 hot on attack Matt Faddes makes a poor grubber kick that goes dead.

4mins SCORE 7-0: Fast start by the Crusaders and the Highlanders did lucky to hold on for as long as they did. Mo'unga converts and we're back at halfway.

3mins TRY CRUSADERS: Crusaders make a break before going side to side inside the Landers 22. Hot an attack, the Highlanders can't hold around the ruck and Mitchell Drummond dives over next to the posts.

1mins: Straight off the bat a box kick by Aaron Smith goes to David Havili who's taken by Malakai Fekitoa in the air. Mo'unga drives the penalty into Landers half.

KICKOFF: Richie Mo'unga gets us underway 

2.35pm - Here come the home team, looking as pumped as I've seen them for quite some time. There's not just four points at stake, there's southern pride.

2.33pm - Ben Smith leads the Highlanders out on the field in his record-making 128th appearance for the team, overtaking Anton Oliver as most capped Lander.

2.25pm - Kia ora all - gotta love some afternoon rugby. Highlanders are 9 from 9, the Crusaders are 13 from 13. Are we going to see a repeat of their last meeting where the Saders came back from a 21-point deficit? 



Kia ora and welcome to live updates of the Crusaders hosting the Highlanders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights (be sure to refresh your browser) and all the action. VIDEO will be available as soon as the final whistle goes.

Commentary will start from around 2:30 pm (NZT). In the meantime check out the video above as Scott Robertson prepares for the Highlanders to open their bag of tricks.



1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Sam Whitelock (c), 6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Jordan Taufua, 9. Mitchell Drummond, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Ryan Crotty, 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 15. David Havili

Reserves : 16. Ben Funnell, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Quinten Strange, 20. Jed Brown, 21. Bryn Hall, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Israel Dagg


1. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Siate Tokolahi, 4. Alex Ainley, 5.Tom Franklin, 6. Gareth Evans, 7. James Lentjes, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Marty Banks, 11. Richard Buckman, 12. Rob Thompson, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith (c)

Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon (cc), 17. Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19. Joe Wheeler, 20. Elliot Dixon, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Lima Sopoaga, 23. Matt Faddes

Match facts and stats 

Referee: Glen Jackson

Assistants: James Doleman and Michael Winter

TMO: Glenn Newman

Crusaders have won seven of the last nine meetings between these sides, however the Highlanders two victories in that run both came in the last three meetings between the sides.

The Highlanders won the last time they faced Crusaders away from home but they’ve never won consecutive away games against them.

The Crusaders have won their last 13 matches. Only the Crusaders themselves have gone on a longer winning run in Super Rugby (twice), last doing so in 2006 when they set the Super Rugby record of 16 consecutive victories.

The Highlanders come into this game on the back of a nine match winning run, their best run in Super Rugby.

Each of the last four games between the two have been decided by margins of eight points or fewer, with both teams sharing two wins apiece in that run.

Past meetings

Head to head: Played 30, Crusaders 20, Highlanders 20, draws 0

In Christchurch: Played 15, Crusaders 11, Highlanders 4, draws 0

Last time played: Crusaders 30 def Highlanders 27, March 4, 2017

Last time Christchurch: Highlanders 25 def Crusaders 20, April 11, 2015 

Head-to-head: Crusaders - $1.35 Highlanders - $3.15