As it happened: Super Rugby – Highlanders vs Reds

As it happened: Super Rugby – Highlanders vs Reds
Photo credit: AAP

FULLTIME: HIGHLANDERS 18 - 15 REDS

80mins: Highlanders looking to close it out now. They're taking it up through the forwards, keeping it tight and they win the penalty! Hooter sounds, Sopoaga taps and kicks it into touch! Fulltime. 

78mins: Li beats one from the kick-off before Smith clears from the base and Timu comes down with it. Ball is out and the Highlanders are back with it.

76mins: Reds fluff the lineout and the Highlanders come up with it. McKay steps one and takes them up to the 22m. Walden is tackled high and they have the penalty right in front! Sopoaga with a chance to take the lead and he does just that.

74mins: Kerevi busts through one but his offload is taken in by Buckman and the Highlanders have it inside the 22m. Buckman sees space, puts the grubber and Perese does brilliantly to clean up and burst through space! He offloads to Paia'aua who's cut down into touch on halfway.

72mins: Li beats one on the outside, finds Walden, he draws in the fullback but Squire is well covered this time and his attempted offload can only go forward.

70mins: Sorovi clears from the scrum and Naholo returns it before putting Sopoaga in space down the right wing but his offload in field only finds a Reds player.

68mins: Sopoaga finds Hunt who puts Li in space down the left wing but the cover defence recover well to keep him out. JP Smith is penalised at the breakdown and the ref gives another card warning. 

66mins: Rodda wins the lineout and the Reds are inside Landers terrority but Paia'aua coughs it up before a Highlanders counter. Sopoaga gets on the outside and he's in space before firing it bakc infield but the Reds get it there first before clearing.

64mins: Naholo takes the Highlanders up over halfway. Sopoaga puts the bomb up and Stewart takes it well under pressure. Sorovi clears from the base and McKay is hit hard on the catch.

62mins: Kerevi busts one tackle before stepping inside and finding Petaia with a fantastic offload to put the winger in space. He puts the chip over the top but McKay cleans up brilliantly and sends it down field.

60mins: Stewart is smashed by Squire but the Reds still have it. Tupou has a couple of runs before Lance puts the grubber through and we'll have a 22m drop out. 

58mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - SQUIRE: Highlanders break away from the lineout just five metres out. Walden has a crack and he goes close! Sopoaga sees Squire on his inside and the All Black loosie runs straight over the top of Sorovi for the try.

56mins: Hemopo comes up with and tries to drive his way over the try line with support behind him but he's held up. Highlanders shift right from the scrum but Sopoaga is tackled into touch.

54mins: Highlanders win the lineout but the drive is stuffed so they break away. Smith is taken out without the ball and it's another penalty. Next one's got to be a card.  We'll have another lineout.

52mins: Hemopo wins the lineout and the Highlanders maul! They're looking well set and get the penalty for collapsing. We'll have another lineout and drive.

51mins: Dixon goes short to Squire at the lineout. Smith puts up the box kick and Petaia takes it well but Tupou obstructed and is penalised. Landers opt for the lineout.

49mins: Rodda wins the lineout and the Reds are up inside the Highlanders 22m. Rodda makes a strong run but Hunt wins the turnover and the penalty.

47mins: REDS TRY - STEWART: Reds continue to march their towards the try line, making steady progress. Kerevi splits two defenders before finding Stewart with the inside pass and he dives over for the try.

45mins: Paia'aua is put into a gaping hole and the Reds are hot on attack! Tupou gets it in space before finding Perese with forward-looking pass. They're up near the 22m. 

43mins: They get it back this time and try to attack. Sopoaga puts the bomb up and the Reds somehow come down with it. 

41mins: Kerevi knocks on shortly after the kick-off and the Highlanders will have the put it in to the scrum. Can they turn it around?

HALFTIME: HIGHLANDERS 8 - 10 REDS: A real tight half of footy. The Reds have just been the much stronger of the two sides and have punished the Landers at the scrum. Expect a few chances the pack pretty soon. 

40mins: Perese takes in the restart as the hooter sounds. Lucas decides to boot it into touch to take us into halftime.

38mins: REDS TRY - PAENGA-AMOSA: Hockings wins the lineout and the Reds drive! They're making easy metres and they're just a metre out. Paenga-Amosa breaks away and dives over for the try! 

36mins: Reds again put the shove on at scrum time win the penalty! They're monstering the Landers front-row at the moment. They want the try as they go for the lineout just five out.

34mins: Kerevi steps one before putting Perese in space! The winger makes good metres before being tackled inside the Landers 10m. Kerevi tries the inside pass but it's knocked on by Petaia.

32mins: Reds demolish the Highlanders scrum and win the penalty! Great show of strength there from the front row. Lance will have another shot at goal but misses an easy one.

29mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - LI: Hammington switches direction and fires it to Li on his left, he steps out of the first tackle before racing in to score in the corner. Great finish.

27mins: It's a sloppy lineout and Dixon comes up with it and they're just five metres out! There's space out on the right but Naholo can't control Sopoaga's pass. They had the advantage however and we'll have a scrum.

25mins: Sopoaga again sees space and again finds touch with a beautiful thump down field to force the Reds back. He's had the ball on a string so far.

23mins: Hemopo fluffs the lineout and the Reds have it inside the 22m. Reds trying to take it up with their forwards and Franklin is penalised at the breakdown. Lance slots the easy penalty kick to even things up.

21mins: Walden this time tries the kick over the top and Petaia puts the up an under up before the Highlanders return it. Lance sees space down the sideline and kicks it into touch on Landers 22m.

19mins: Reds win the lineout, drive and Lucas puts the box kick up for Naholo to gather it in on the 22m. Thompson makes a strong run and they're just five out. The ball's on the line so we're gonna have a look upstairs. Hemopo it is with it but he had a couple of cracks at it so it's no try, we'll go back for the penalty. They want the shot at posts and Sopoaga nails it.

17mins: Tupou shows the dummy and he's bundled into touch. Gee, these Aussie commentators sure do love him.Sopoaga finds space with another beautiful kick inside the Reds 22m for the lineout.

15mins: Hockings gets up to win the lineout, nobody's marking him and he turns around to run 30 odd metres before finally being tackled. Lucas kicks and Sopoaga sends it down field up near halfway.

13mins: Reds infringe at the scrum and the Landers win the free-kick as Sopoaga puts the bomb up and it bounces into touch inside the Reds 22m.

11mins: Highlanders' rush defence forces the Reds backwards again forcing the kick down field. Thompson gathers in a kick in but drops it before Sopoaga's clean job ends in a knock on.

9mins: Paia'aua fires the long pass to Petaia to gather in on the bounce. Reds steadily building towards the try line and are about 10 metres out. Paia'aua is penalised however for taking the player out without the ball.

7mins: A bit of mis-communication in the Highlanders backline sees Kerevi gather it in and he's in space! He kicks for his winger to chase but the ball beats everybody as it goes dead. 

5mins: Reds win a sloppy lineout and Lucas sees space on the left before putting Petaia clear to run a few more metres. They kick and Li returns the favour up over halfway.

3mins: Reds try to launch from the scrum but they're going backwards and the Highlanders force the turnover before Sopoaga puts the ball into touch inside the Reds 22m.

1mins: Sopoaga gets us underway and Perese who takes it in for the Reds. They take it up before Lucas puts the box kick up for Naholo to counter but his offload to Thompson is knocked on.

9:43pm: Just a couple of minutes away from kick-off now. The Highlanders, despite being favourites, up against it. They're going to have to get the job done without a number of their star players.

9:40pm: Thanks for joining us for part two of tonight's double header! Can the Highlanders follow the Chiefs' lead and beat their Aussie opponents? Let's find out!

Kia ora and welcome to Brisbane as the Highlanders take on the Reds in week 15 of Super Rugby.  

We bring you live streaming written commentary, (BE SURE TO REFRESH YOUR BROWSER), and all the action. Video will be available as soon as the final whistle goes.

Commentary will start at 9:40pm (NZT)

Lineups

Reds

15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Liam Wright, 22 Moses Sorovi, 23 Aidan Toua.

Highlanders

15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (c), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman.

Match officials
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Jordan Way, Graham Cooper
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore

Previous meetings
Fri, 14 Jul 2017 Reds v Highlanders 17-40 Dunedin
Sat, 09 Apr 2016 Reds v Highlanders 28-27 Brisbane
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 Reds v Highlanders 13-20 Dunedin
Fri, 30 May 2014 Reds v Highlanders 38-31 Brisbane
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 Reds v Highlanders 34-33 Dunedin

Head-to-head
Reds $4.05 Highlanders $1.23

Pre-match banter: Liam Squire makes welcome return to depleted Highlanders

The Highlanders have been forced to name a weakened team to play the Reds for their Super Rugby showdown in Brisbane on Saturday.

All Blacks squad members Ben Smith, Luke Whitelock, Shannon Frizell and Liam Coltman are not included, while halfback Aaron Smith starts on the bench as the workload of the team's test contingent is managed.

Smith's absence means 20-year-old Josh McKay will make a high-pressure Super Rugby debut at fullback.

Blockbusting All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire returns after two months spent recovering from a thumb injury.

Alongside him on the bench is utility back Richard Buckman, who is yet to play this year because of a neck complaint.

Japan-bound Elliot Dixon has been ruled out of the clash, after sustaining an elbow injury in last week's 41-12 defeat to the Waratahs, which means a new back row in the form of James Lentjes, Dillon Hunt and Marino Mikaele Tu'u.

Regular second-five starter Teihorangi Walden returns to the midfield to partner Rob Thompson.           

The Highlanders will also be without head coach Aaron Mauger, who has returned to New Zealand for family reasons.

Assistant coach Mark Hammett will take the reins and is looking forward to the test.

“We have had a good training week and there is a real determination amongst the group to meet the challenge on Saturday," said assistant coach Mark Hammett. "The Reds in Brisbane are always a difficult prospect and their performance last week demonstrates their capabilities.” 

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