Smith sparks Highlanders to season's first win

Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith celebrates with Aaron Smith. Photo: Getty Images
Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith celebrates with Aaron Smith. Photo: Getty Images
The Highlanders came alive in the final quarter of the first Super Rugby game of the season, beating the Chiefs 30-27 in Hamilton tonight.

The side struggled in the middle patches of the game, but came home hard to score the final two tries and win thanks to an Aaron Smith try with five minutes left.

Smith sparked the side when he came on and the Highlanders woke up near the end to come away the victor.

The Chiefs looked lively on attack but ran out of gas in the dying minutes.

They started poorly but came alive in the second quarter of the game and led 19-10 at the break.

Josh Dickson applauds a try against the Chiefs. Photo: Getty Images
Josh Dickson applauds a try against the Chiefs. Photo: Getty Images
The Highlanders should have scored more in the opening minutes, and only had themselves to blame, as they managed just one try through lock Pari Pari Parkinson.

The Chiefs answered with three tries in the first half and held the ball better, not opting for the kick - which the Highlanders did way too much of after their early endeavours.

The game was played in stinking hot weather in the first half, but it cooled down in the second as the sun went down.

Highlanders 30 (Pari Pari Parkinson, Shannon Frizell, Aaron Smith tries; Josh Ioane 3 con, 3 pen)

Chiefs 27 (Tyler Ardron, Angus Ta'avao, Etene Nanai-Seturo 2 tries, Brad Weber 2 con, Stephen Donald pen)

Halftime: 19-10


 

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