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Highlanders win in final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa

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Super Rugby Aotearoa finishes with a flurry

 

The Highlanders claimed a win against the Hurricanes in the final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa. In a thrilling fixture they scored five tries to the visitors’ three to win 38-21. With the Blues game against the Crusaders cancelled due to an increase in Coronavirus cases in Auckland, this was the final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

 

First half

The Hurricanes began the game strongly and scored the first try of the match through a good break from their own half. Breaks like these would go on to characterise the game, with both sides chancing their arm.

From a Highlanders knock-on, a big miss pass found Jordie Barrett who used his pace to eat up the ground ahead of him. He then passed inside to Jamie Booth whose offload set up Vince Aso in the corner.

Not long after, the Highlanders hit back. A lovely dummy by Mitch Hunt set up Ngantungane Punivai following some strong phases as the home side replied.

It did not take long for the Hurricanes to galvanise themselves and they crossed the whitewash once again. Vince Aso seemingly had his second try but unfortunately for the away side he had a foot in touch.

Once again, they thought they had scored a couple of minutes later. Reed Prinsep was sent through a huge gap by Scott Scrafton, however, the pass was forward and the scores remained level at 7-7.

They finally got their second try of the game when Booth stepped brilliantly past Jonah Nareki after some excellent running from the backs.

Like before, though, the Highlanders soon responded. From a penalty they kicked to touch and set up for the maul. Ash Dixon directed from the back and then bundled his way over to bring the scores level again.

 

Second half

The Highlanders returned to the empty stadium’s pitch with more energy than the first half.

Within six minutes, the home side had scored a penalty through Josh Ioane and a converted try through Michael Collins.

Incredibly, the Hurricanes were denied yet another time. Chase Tiatia’s try was chalked off for an obstruction in the build-up.

Ardie Savea has played 44 games for the All Blacks.

From the resulting penalty, the Highlanders capitalised on their possession and earnt a raft of penalties. Working their way up the field they were awarded a penalty try due to Ardie Savea’s infringement that cost him ten minutes on the pitch.

With a serious gap now between them, the Highlanders continued to push for more. This time, they disrupted a Hurricanes ruck and Aaron Smith sent Mitch Hunt away down the wing from 60 metres out.

Hunt’s conversion made it 38-14 and put them well and truly out of touching distance.

The Hurricanes did eventually manage to snatch a consolation try in the final ten minutes of the last game of Super Rugby Aotearoa. Jackson Garden-Bachop nudged a cheeky grubber through and Hunt could not gather, allowing Peter Umaga-Jensen to pounce on the ball.

What next?

Super Rugby Aotearoa has reached its culmination and has been a brilliant spectacle for everyone watching. People have been able to watch some of the best players in the world take on each other in thrilling weekly encounters.

The work now starts to reach an agreement about how to move forward with the regular Super Rugby competition. With disputes over what the best format is and which teams should play, there is no clear solution as things stand.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Highlanders win in final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa’. Would you like to see the competition return? Let us know!

 

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Eddie is currently studying for his BA in French at Bristol University. He has played rugby since a young age, playing a variety of positions in the back line. His passionate interest in sport, especially rugby, has encouraged him to transfer it to journalism, working with his university paper, Epigram, in addition to his role with Sporting Ferret.

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