Super Rugby 2020: Highlanders slump to Bulls defeat after jersey confusion

The Highlanders' Super Rugby season hit a new low after they surrendered a halftime lead to lose 38-13 to the Bulls in a match that will be remembered for an inexplicable kit clash in the first half on Sunday (NZ time).  

The Highlanders were wearing their new alternate Blue jersey, which was a very similar colour to the Bulls' jersey, making it very difficult to distinguish both sides in the opening 40. 

Trailing 10-5 at the break at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the Bulls changed into a yellow outfit, before running away with the match, scoring five second half tries - including a hat-trick to Rosko Specman.

The win was the Bulls' first this season, while the Highlanders are reeling at the bottom of the New Zealand conference, also with one win. 

The match was marred by basic errors at crucial times - in large part to the jersey clash - but it was Highlanders second-five Josh Ioane who opened the scoring with a converted try in the 10th minute. 

Jaco Visagie hit back for the Bulls before an Ioane penalty goal gave the Highlanders a five-point buffer at the break.

The Highlanders should have led by more, but they squandered a couple of great opportunities with Dillon Hunt, captain Aaron Smith making errors in the attacking third. 

Jona Nareki and Manie Libbok jostle for possession.
Jona Nareki and Manie Libbok jostle for possession. Photo credit: Getty

Ioane slotted an early penalty in the second half to extend the Highlanders' lead which seemed to spur on the Bulls, as they went on a try-scoring rampage. 

Fullback Warrick Gelant scored to get the hosts within one before Specman scored three straight tries to put the result beyond doubt. 

The rout was complete in the last minute when Cornal Hendricks scuttled away to score the Bulls' sixth try. 

The Highlanders now head to Argentina to face the Jaguares next Sunday. 

Bulls 38 (Jaco Visagie, Warrick Gelant, Rosko Specman (3), Cornal Hendrick tries,  Manie Libbok 2 cons, Morne Steyn 2 cons) Highlanders 13 (Josh Ioane try, Ioane 2 pens, con). 

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