Super Rugby 2020: Highlanders thrashed by Sharks in Dunedin

A horror first-half has given the Highlanders a losing start to the 2020 Super Rugby season, falling to the Sharks 42-20. 

The visitors feasted on errors to shoot out to a 27-3 lead at the break, which was far too big for the Highlanders to overcome. 

Flanker James Venter broke open the Highlanders' defence to score the opening try as the Sharks put on a clinic in counter-attacking rugby. 

While the Sharks were classy throughout, the Highlanders were poor at the lineouts, under the highball and clearing from the breakdown. 

Springboks star winger Makazole Mapimpi scored two in the last five minutes of the first half as he showed how best to turn defence into attack, ballooning the lead to 24 at the break. 

The Highlanders scored twice in the first 20 minutes after the half, Dillon Hunt and Jona Nareki crossing for the hosts. 

But a double from electric fullback Aphelele Fassi stopped any chances of a comeback from the hosts - the Sharks asserting their dominance over the 2015 champions. 

The Highlanders take on the Brumbies next week and the Sharks head to Wellington to face the Hurricanes.

Sharks 42 (Aphelele Fassi 2, Makazole Mapimpi 2, James Venter tries Curwin Bosch 4 cons 3 pens) 

Highlanders 20 (Mike Collins, Dillon Hunt, Jona Nareki tries Mitch Hunt con pen) 

More to come.