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It was a brave and gutsy effort from the Highlanders but courage can only go so far.
The Highlanders threw out a decent effort and, if anything, won the physical battle against the Crusaders in Christchurch last night.
But it did not win the statistic that mattered, on the scoreboard, as the Crusaders ran away with the match in the second half to win the first Super Rugby quarterfinal 38-14.
The score did not reflect the Highlanders' effort. They were gallant but not quite accurate enough, for to beat this Crusaders team requires a mistake-free game and nothing stupid.
But it lost loose forward Liam Squire to a yellow card for a no-arms tackle early in the second half and while he was off the field the home team scored two tries which won it the game.
Squire plays on the edge and that is what you get with him. The way referee Jaco Peyper was ruling things, Squire was always going to cool his heels.
The Crusaders got all the momentum in the second half and the Highlanders had no territory to mount any threat. Richie Mo'unga got 23 points and won the game for his team.
The Highlanders showed they were up for the contest in the first 20 minutes and did not take a backward step.
The home team scored a Mo'unga penalty early after a stray Highlanders hand-knocked down a pass.
The Highlanders, though, quickly got the ball back and from a nippy Aaron Smith break, Hemopo looked to have barged over.
Referee Peyper awarded the try but after a long discussion - when are they not? - with the television match official, the try was scrubbed out for a double movement. Harsh call, perhaps, when tries like this have been awarded all season.
The Highlanders had a chance to level things up when Josh Ioane had a handy enough penalty but hit the post from 35m out.
However, their major fault of the season came back to haunt them as they could not sustain any pressure and they paid for it.
First, the home team had an attacking lineout and after the forwards tried to drive over, the ball went wide and fullback David Havili crossed under the bar.
Five minutes later the Crusaders were in again when a nice passing movement down the left freed up Mo'unga and he ran away to score a try, which he converted.
Down 10 points, the Highlanders could have folded but they came back and after a period of attack, midfielder Walden banged through a Jack Goodhue tackle and went over - just - to get his side back into the contest with three minutes left in the first half.
Richie Mo’unga 2, David Havili, Whetu Douglas, Michael Alaalatoa tries;
Mo’unga 5 con, pen
Sio Tomkinson, Tei Walden tries;
Josh Ioane 2 con