Match Centre: Highlanders 37-17 Moana Pasifika

Highlanders have registered their first win
Highlanders have registered their first win

Highlanders 37-17 Moana Pasifika, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Highlanders have registered their first win in the ongoing Super Rugby Pacific competition as they defeated Moana Pasifika at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The result means Highlanders are at ninth place in the table with 10 points while Moana Pasifika are languishing at the bottom after losing five out of their six games.

The fourth minute saw Shannon Frizell limping off the field due to an injury but they were the first to score a try as Mitch Hunt spun the ball wide to Mosese Dawai, who went over the line. Hunt also kicked the conversion to make it 7-0.

Moana Pasifika responded back in the 9th minute when Highlanders were penalised for an offside and Christian Lealiifano landed a penalty goal and they went into the lead three minutes later as Levi Aumua barged over to score after collecting an offload from Danny Toala.

Lealiifano landed the conversion as the scoreline became 7-10 before the home side bounced back around the half-hour mark when Andrew Makalio touched down but Hunt's conversion went wide taking the scoreline to 12-10.

With the break approaching, Moana lost Poloniati to yellow card for giving a penalty away and Highlanders made use of the numerical advantage as Dawai completed his second with a dive in the corner with the teams heading into the break with a 17-10 scoreline.

The second half saw Rhys Marshall and Tima Fainga'anuku exchange tries as the difference between the two sides came down to five points and as Chris Apoua was penalised, Hunt landed a penalty goal in the 65th minute making the scoreline 25-17. Highlanders seized control of the game with Folau Fakatava takes the ball from Marshall, throws a dummy, beats his man and scores.

The sixth and final try for Highlanders came in the closing stage as Marshall completed his second with his try at the back of a line out as they went on to complete a 20-point victory.

Team line up:

Highlanders XV: Ethan De Groot, Andrew Makailo, Jermaine Ainsley Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Josh Dickson, Shannon Frizell, James Lentjes, Marino Miakele Tu’u, Aaron Smith (c), Mitch Hunt, Mosese Dawai, Scott Gregory, Fetuli Paea, Sam Gilbert, Connor Garden Bachop

Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Ayden Johnstone, Saula Ma’u, Max Hicks, Gareth Evans, Folau Fakatava, Vilimoni Koroi, Denny Solomona

Moana Pasifika XV: Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Luteru Tolai, Sekope Kepu (c), Veikoso Poloniati, Samuel Slade, Solomone Funaki, Alamanda Motuga, Penitoa Finau, Ereatara Enari, Christian Leali'ifano, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Danny Toala, Levi Aumua, Tima Fainga’anuku, William Havili

Reserves: Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole, Chris Apoua, Mahonri Ngakuru, Sione Tu’ipulotu, Jonathan Taumateine, Lincoln McClutchie, Fine Inisi