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The home team consolidated a 10-point halftime lead when prop Ethan de Groot crashed over for his second early in the spell. It was a big night for the Southland bookend.
No 8 Kazuki Himeno had another strong game and got on the score sheet as well, before winger Jona Nareki scampered towards the corner to bring up the half century.
Tackling did not make it to the top of the agenda in the opening 20 or so minutes.
A try at one end followed a try at the other.
The Highlanders struck first. Michael Collins finished off a slick move from a lineout. Sio Tomkinson got a nice pass off the deck to create the opportunity.
The visitors replied through fullback Jack Maddocks. Nareki had rushed up and left a big a gap in behind which Maddocks exploited.
And that is how it continued. Will Harrison broke the pattern with a couple of penalties but the home side moved in front again when Ash Dixon got himself in the boot of a lineout drive.
Nareki dotted down after the halftime hooter to stretch the lead to 33-23 and complete a frantic first 40 minutes.