Highlanders u20 fifth after win over Drua

The Highlanders overpowered the Fijian Drua 59-19 in the playoff for fifth at the Super Rugby under-20 tournament in Taupo on Saturday.

They took about a minute to get on the board. Towering lock Reuben Palmer crashed over from close range.

Midfielder Josh Whaanga barged his way over for the first of his two tries five minutes later.

It set the tone for the half. The Drua were not able to match the physicality of the Highlanders, who led 33-7 at halftime.

Halfback Dylan Pledger had a solid game behind the pack and his goal kicking in wet conditions was impressive.

No 8 Max Ratcliffe bagged two tries and was part of a dominant pack.

Prop Liam McIntosh had a storming game as well.

Whaanga showed some nice vision to collect his second try. He spotted some space in behind and dropped in a grubber and won the race to the ball.

Left winger Josh Augustine set up the Highlanders’ final try with a jigging run which carried him past three or four defenders.

Replacement forward Hunter Areaiiti Burgess flopped over to finish the move off.

The Crusaders beat the Chiefs 31-17 in the final, while the Hurricanes edged the Blues 24-19 in the playoff for third and the New Zealand Barbarians beat Moana Pasifika 36-15 in the playoff for seventh.

The score

Highlanders under-20            59

Max Ratcliffe 2, Josh Whaanga 2, Reuben Palmer, Josh Augustine, Eric Peita, A-One Lolofie,  Hunter Areaiiti Burgess tries, Dylan Pledger 6 con, Wyndham Patuawa con

Fijian Drua under-20               19

Nalani May, Iliesa Erenavula, Sam Chapman tries, Avakuki Niusalele con, Aisea Nawai con

Halftime: 33-7