As it happened: Super Rugby - Highlanders vs Chiefs

Both teams are near full-strength for the clash in Suva.
Both teams are near full-strength for the clash in Suva. Photo credit: Photosport


80mins: Chiefs win their own restart and are keeping it tight, taking it up through their forwards. The McKenzies combine nicely but Damian's dragged down. They do eventually turn it over but only for the Highlanders to knock it on. Alaimalo beats a couple and the Chiefs are just five out but knock on and that's full time!

77mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - FRIZELL: Frizell has a crack at the line and he's over but is held up. Highlanders aren't done just yet as Seiuli is stopped just a couple of metres out. Hammington fires the ball at a surging Frizell and he's over for the try!

75mins: Penalities mounting now for the Chiefs as Allardice is shown the yellow card. Hemopo makes a strong run and the Highlanders are just five metres out. Seiuli wants a second but the pass to him is an average one and he knocks on.

73mins: Alaimalo again in a bit of space down the left wing but the cover defence is up to the challenge. Hemopo attacks the ball at the breakdown and forces the penalty before the Chiefs concede another straight after the quick tap.

71mins: Chiefs still keen to play with it as Alaimalo makes another nice run. Highlanders are up too quickly and are penalised. McKenzie will line up the easy shot at goal and he makes no mistake.

69mins: Thompson hits the perfect line and he's put into space! He's up over halfway, fires it to Buckman on the right wing but Wainui hangs onto the tackle before the offload is knocked on.

67mins: Marty McKenzie spots space behind the Highlanders defence, tries the chip kick for his brother to chase but the ball JUST bounces over the top of Damian. He was in otherwise. Meanwhile, Naholo's down and he doesn't look flash and he comes off.

65mins: Naholo takes in the restart and Sopoaga fires a big, wide pass to Li and he fends off Stevenson before he comes back at him to make the tackle. Whitelock tries the offoad but Jacobson intercepts.

63mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - SEIULI: Chiefs this time put the heat on at the scrum but the Highlanders do enough to get it back on their side. Frizell has a crack before Sopoaga takes them on. Smith pops a short ball to Seiuliand he crashes over for the try. 

61mins: Highlanders putting a shove on at the scrum and they win the penalty! What a contrast from the first half. They'll have another put in. 

59mins: Alaimalo makes a great tackle, driving them backwards but the Highlanders still have it. They go through Dixon who shows great strength to offload to Thompson and he's just five metres out! They try and crash their way over but are held up.

57mins: Highlanders turn it over and they break away! Thompson takes it up but the ref calls a pass forward and the play ends just as quickly. All started from a forward pass from McKenzie so the Highlanders will have the put-in.

55mins: McKenzie tries the bomb and Ardron almost comes up with it but the lock just loses it in contact. Teams ringing the changes now, the pace of this game is absurd.

53mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - WALDEN: Thompson finds Hemopo with a nice short ball. They switch left, Walden cuts out one to find Dixon on the wing, he draws one in and gives it back to the second-five to go over for his second try.

51mins: Stevenson has his first touch of the ball as the Chiefs look to attack from their own scrum. Alaimalo does enough to put Wainui in a bit of space. Ngatai brushes off one and he's away! He tries to step Smith but he makes the tackle before they turn it over.

49mins: Thompson looks to be in for the Highlanders' second try after some fanastic offloads, but there was a knock by Walden in the lead up. They broke out from their own 22m and showed great flair on attack, but not to be.

47mins: HIGHLANDERS TRY - WALDEN: McKenzie makes a good tackle on Li to keep him out before Thompson spins out of the tackle and almost goes over. Highlanders go right and show quick hands and Walden gets a nice offload from Hunt and he's over for the try! Finally, the Highlanders are on the board.

45mins: Weber has a dart from the lineout but Lomax looks after him. Tu’inukuafe makes a rare error as he knocks on and the Highlanders look to counter through Smith and Walden.

43mins: Chiefs looking good to score once again as Wainui finds space on the left-hand side. They switch right to the middle of the park but knock on. So, couple of minutes into this half and it looks about the same as the first.

41mins: McKenzie gets the second half underway and Thompson takes it in. Sopoaga clears down the middle of the park. Pulu's in space once again after nice passing between the backs. 


40mins: CHIEFS TRY - PULU: Hunt's in a bit of space but loses it in contact and Alaimalo counters! He's cut through them again! He offlods to Jacobson in the tackle, he gives it to Lienert-Brown and he fires it to Pulu to score his second try.

40mins: Highlanders show a glimpse with another nice move from the scrum and Walden goes through half a hole but Pulu is right in on top of him after Ngatai's tackle and wins the penalty. Chiefs have one final crack but Ngatai's kick is gathered in by Thompson. 

38mins: Sopoaga's kick looks an average one but takes a favourable bounce for a Chiefs lineout on halfway. Polwart's throw is not straight and the Highlanders will have the scrum. Can they somehow claw their way back?

36mins: CHIEFS TRY - WAINUI: McKenzie has another crack and goes close. Whitelock is then pinged for playing the ball and he's shown the yellow card! Chiefs opt for the scrum once again, get the advantage, Cane breaks left, gives it to Wainui and the winger rides the tackle of Naholo before going over for the try.

34mins: McKenzie attacks the line and puts Lienert-brown in space before he draws one in and sends Wainui in space down the left wing! Highlanders get back but concede the penalty for a Chiefs scrum.

32mins: Finally some relief for the Highlanders as Cane is penalised at the breakdown after a strong run by Li. But can you believe it, Sopoaga can't find touch and Pulu clears down field.

30mins: Highlanders at sixes and sevens at the moment. They try going quickly but knock on and the Chiefs have it just outside the 22m. They try the grubber through but Naholo gets back to clean up before Smith clears. 

28mins: Sopoaga makes another mistake, this time kicking the restart out on the full. Just going from bad to worse for the Highlanders. Chiefs have the scrum on halfway.

26mins: CHIEFS TRY - JACOBSON: Chiefs once again pile the pressure on the scrum and this time they have the advantage! Ball bobbles free, Weber somehow finds Jacobson with the offload and he goes over for the try!

24mins: Chiefs try the shove at the scrum but Weber breaks away. Messam has yet another crack and skips out of one tackle before bumping off Naholo. Chiefs win the penalty and will have a scrum. Messam is playing like a man possessed right now!

22mins: Smith attacks the line at pace from the scrum and fires a hard pass to Sopoaga but he can't hang on and knocks on. The pair have struggled early on here tonight.

20mins: Highlanders get up to win the lineout and try the drive just five out. It's not going anywhere, Smith spots space and tries the grubber for Naholo but it rolls dead for a drop out. Poor decision.

18mins: Highlanders try a set piece move from the lineont on halfway and it sees Naholo go through a hole and in open space! He's finally tackled just outside the Chiefs 22m before Polwart is penalised for not rolling away.

16mins: CHIEFS TRY - TU'INUKUAFE: Jacobson finds Cane before getting back on the inside he's just a metre short. Tu’inukuafe wants a piece of the action, picks up from the base and he crashes over for the try! Chiefs are on fire at the moment.

14mins: Lienert-Brown spots space behind the defence, puts the kick through and Sopoaga makes a meal of it before Smith picks up the loose ball from an offside position and concedes the penalty.

12mins: Alaimalo gets up to gather in another restart before Ngatai puts boot to ball and boy, oh, boy, it's massive! Bounces inside the Chiefs 22m before going out.

10mins: CHIEFS TRY - PULU: Messam wins the lineout for the Chiefs and they drive. Highlanders get up quickly to tackle McKenzie but the Chiefs have the penalty advantage. Messam goes close before Pulu has a crack, shows great strength and he's in for the try.

8mins: Pulu tracks back and cleans up Sopoaga's cross field kick. McKenzie puts Messam through and hole and he fires a long pass to Allardice to have a run. Naholo is offside and is penalised.

6mins: Chiefs put the pressure on at the scrum and win the penalty. It's Ta'avao getting the pats on the back from his teammates.

5mins: There's a bit of space for Li on the left wing but he's defended well. The switch direction and try and find Elliot Dixon with the long cutout pass but it's forward and we'll have a scrum.

3mins: CHIEFS TRY - ALAIMALO: Lienert-Brown frees up Alaimalo with the offload and the winger is away! He races 30 metres, cuts back inside to beat the tackle of Li before going over for the try. Great start.

1mins: Sopoaga gets us underway as Alaimalo takes it it. Highlanders too eager at the breakdown and are penalised.

7:34pm: Just moments away from kick-off. Should be a cracker of a game.

7:32pm: It's warm and windy in Suva, but no rain so here's hoping it stays that way. Players making their way out now. 

7:25pm: Really excited to see Naholo carve up in his country of birth. Sure the locals will go mad if he's given half a sniff.

7:20pm: Welcome to Fiji! What a game to have on display as the Highlanders play the Chiefs. Both sides near full strength.

Kia ora and welcome to Suva as the Highlanders take on the Chiefs in week 17 of Super Rugby.  

We bring you live streaming written commentary, (BE SURE TO REFRESH YOUR BROWSER), and all the action.

Commentary will start at 7:20pm.


15 Ben Smith (co-c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon , 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-c), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17  Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman.

15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai (co-c), 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-c), 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitch Karpik, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Match officials
Referee:  Paul Williams
Assistant Referees: Jamie Nutbrown, James Doleman
TMO: Shane McDermott

Previous results
Fri, 30 Mar 2018 Highlanders v Chiefs 22-27 Hamilton
Fri, 24 Feb 2017Highlanders v Chiefs 15-24 Dunedin
Sat, 16 Jul 2016 Highlanders v Chiefs 25-15 Dunedin
Sat, 07 May 2016 Highlanders v Chiefs 26-13 Hamilton
Sat, 20 Jun 2015 Elim Highlanders v Chiefs 24-14 Dunedin

Highlanders $1.52 Chiefs $2.50


Pre-match banter: Chiefs near full strength for Suva clash with Highlanders

The Chiefs welcome back their heavyweights for this Saturday's annual 'Kava Bowl' against the Highlanders in Fiji.

Fresh from All Blacks duty, Karl Tu’inukuafe reclaims the number one jersey, while Damian McKenzie slots back into the pivot role, with halves partner Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi starting off the bench.

Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown also both shift into the starting side against the southerners, who take their turn as the home side this year.

Lock Brodie Retallick is ahead of schedule with his return from a pectoral tear and is due back next week against the Brumbies.

Promising flanker Luke Jacobson earns another nod at blindside, after impressing against the Crusaders.             

The former NZ U20 captain scored two tries and was prominent across the park, and coach Colin Cooper is eager to see more.

"[Jacobsen] has shown his growth at this level," said Cooper.

"He's very physical and wins most of the defensive stats. He can play number seven, number six and lock, showing his versatility well."

The teams last met in Hamilton in March, with the hosts coming out on top 27-22 in a tightly fought encounter.

Cooper expects no different this time in a fixture that has become synonymous with open, free-flowing rugby.

"The weather in Fiji is going to be great for two teams desperate to win. It's going to be an entertaining game - a typical New Zealand derby played in a place where they love rugby.

"We are ready to embrace the challenge."