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Highlanders engage Gear to grind out tough victory despite clocking off early

Date

Marc Hinton

HIGHLANDERS 27 CRUSADERS 24

Andy Ellis of the Crusaders scores a try.

Andy Ellis of the Crusaders scores a try. Photo: Getty Images

DUNEDIN: Otago rugby may be flat broke, but their Highlanders are flush with talent, optimism and followers as they continued their impressive start to the new Super Rugby season last night.

Jamie Joseph's men, at what must be the noisiest rugby stadium in New Zealand, stunned the Crusaders with a 27-24, three-tries-to-two victory that was just reward for a fabulously committed and skilful performance - even if it did end in farcical fashion.

MATCH STATS

Tamati Ellison of the Highlanders is tackled. Click for more photos

Highlanders stun Crusaders in Super upset

A try in the 70th minute by Hosea Gear gives the Highlanders a shock victory 27-24 over the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images

After Hosea Gear's 69th-minute try put the home team in front for the final time, the Highlanders twice kicked the ball out thinking they had won the match because the ground clock showed time up. In the first instance there were still three minutes left, in the second, one.

But the Highlanders survived their faux pas and held on for a victory that sent 23,000 joyous souls out into a cool Dunedin night to celebrate.

This was the best match of the season so far. The Highlanders won because their forwards were more aggressive at the breakdown and shaded the possession battle. They also finished well and made best use of the good conditions to run in the tries when they had to.

The Highlanders deservedly took a 20-10 lead into the sheds after a surging first half where they scored two tries to one and made most of the play.

It was the visitors who scored the first try, after an early penalty apiece. From a lineout, Robbie Fruean was the target in midfield, in a flash Matt Todd was through and Israel Dagg was finishing handy to the posts.

Two minutes later the Highlanders were back on terms at 10-10 when Andrew Hore did very well from about 15 metres out to barrel over. HIs try was followed by Lima Sopoaga slotting a second penalty and Burleigh sneaking a try before the break.

But the Crusaders were not going to go quietly. Tyler Bleyendaal slotted a second penalty, Andy Ellis their second try and it was game back on at 18-20. Two further Bleyendaal three-pointers followed and the visitors led 24-20. But this is a Highlanders outfit made of much sterner stuff and Gear's excellent try sealed victory.

HIGHLANDERS 27 (Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore tries Lima Sopoaga 3 cons 2 pens) bt CRUSADERS 24 (Israel Dagg, Andrew Ellis tries Tyler Bleyendaal con 4 pens) at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Referee: Jaco Peyper.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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