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They lost first off to the Chiefs, 17-12, but beat the Waratahs 12-10 in their second match.
The game against the Chiefs went down to the wire and the Highlanders was unlucky not to at least draw the match. They scored the first try through speedy outside back Josh McKay but then made a couple of poor decisions.
The Chiefs led 12-7 at halftime through tries to Liam Messam and Sea Wainui.
The Highlanders came out better in the second half and tied the game up with a try to big winger Tevita Nabura, after a nice run from halfback Josh Renton.
Then, with about three minutes on the clock, McKay made a nice break down the right. He was hauled down and the ball was moved to the left but hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate dropped the ball with the line open in front of him.
The Chiefs got the ball, went down the other end and forward Samisoni Toukeiaho scored the try.
Nabura went over in the corner and appeared to tie the match in added time but after awarding the try, referee Nick Briant had another look and the TMO ruled Nabura was in touch first before grounding the ball.
In the second game, the Highlanders came back in the second half from 10-0 down to win through a try by Nabura with a minute to go.