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The Highlanders under-20 side has started its campaign with an emphatic win.
The side, made up of players from throughout the Highlanders region, had a commanding 70-17 win over a New Zealand Barbarians side at Taupo yesterday. The Highlanders led 35-10 at halftime.
The Barbarians team is made up of players who did not make their own regional sides. Included were forwards Harrison Morton and Taylor Dale, who just missed out on the Highlanders team.
Former Otago Boys’ High School and Gore High School product Cameron Miller, who is set to play for Taieri, had a perfect day with the boot for the Highlanders team. He converted all 10 tries with some from very tough positions. He also scored a try to bag a personal haul of 25 points.
The Barbarians side was willing but, as expected, lacked combination and was found wanting on defence.
Highlanders captain Sean Withy helped himself to three tries and the first two came after some nice work by halfback Nathan Hastie. Withy grabbed his third try when he ran a nice angle off a breakdown close to the line — a replica of his opening tries as he found his way to the tryline.
Millar showed a nice turn of speed to score after winger Michael Manson found some space in the midfield in a set move.
The replacements all got a run in the second half and the forwards started taking control and driving the ball up hard.
Hooker Harry Press scored after coming back on and was part of a solid forward pack which had the better of its opponent
Others to impress were halfback Hastie, centre Jermaine Pepe and lock Fabian Holland.
The side will now rest up before it faces the Hurricanes on Wednesday. Its final game be against the Crusaders on Saturday.