Match Centre: Highlanders 59-23 Waratahs

Highlanders have secured their fourth consecutive win
Highlanders have secured their fourth consecutive win

Highlanders 59-23 Waratahs, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Highlanders came up with a nine-try riot as they thrashed Waratahs 59-23 in the fourth round of the Super Rugby Trans Tasman at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

This is the fourth consecutive win for Highlanders as they moved to the second position in the table with 18 points while Waratahs are languishing at the bottom.

It took Highlanders just two minutes to get their opening try with Scott Gregory's pass sent Michael Collins over the line in the second minute and Mitch Hunt kicked the conversion to take them to a 7-0 lead. Waratahs made a strong comeback when a solo effort from Jack Maddocks, who went past Jona Nareki to touchdown. Will Harrison kicked a penalty and a conversion on either side making it 7-10.

The gap between the sides remained at three points at the end of the first quarter as Sio Tomkinson and Mark Nawaqanitawase exchanged tries. The home side stretched their lead further when Ethan de Groot crossed over at the back of a ruck making it 19-17.

With Ash Dixon and Jona Nareki scoring further tries, Highlanders extended their tally to 33 points but two more penalty kicks from Harrison meant the gap between the teams remained at 10 with the opening half coming to an end.

Highlanders extended their momentum into the second half with de Groot completing his second after diving from close range and Hunt kicked the extras making it 40-23. The New Zealand side further dominated the proceedings with Kazuki Himeno dotting down at the back of a maul making it 45-23 before Nareki and Teariki Ben-Nicholas scored further two tries in the final 10 minutes to complete a 36-point win.

Team line up:

Highlanders: 15 Josh Ioane, 14 Sio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ethan de Groot.

Reserves: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Hugh Renton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.

Waratahs: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Darcy Breen, 2 David Porecki, 1 Andrew Tuala.

Reserves: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Chris Talakai, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Will Harris, 21 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 22 Jack Grant, 23 Tane Edmed.