20 Apr 2019

Highlanders dominate Blues with second-half blitz

9:46 pm on 20 April 2019

The Highlanders have recorded their third win of the Super Rugby season, a dominant second-half performance crucial in their 24-12 victory over the Blues in Dunedin tonight.

Blues fullback Melani Nanai on the break

Blues fullback Melani Nanai on the break Photo: Photosport

The southerners showed real resolve, particularly at scrum time and at the breakdown in the second half, to bounce back from last week's 43-17 thumping at the hands of the Crusaders.

They led 7-5 at halftime, a 27th minute try to flanker Shannon Frizzell and Josh Ioane's conversion enough to edge Tom Robinson's 23rd minute opener for the Blues.

The Aucklanders had snapped a 20-game winless streak against New Zealand opposition when they beat the Highlanders 33-26 three weeks ago, but never looked like delivering a repeat performance at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Highlanders slowly took control as a 50th minute penalty try, courtesy of some outstanding scrum work, was backed up by a Matt Faddes intercept try six minutes later.

The well-organised Highlanders defence kept the Blues at bay for almost the entire second half, until fullback Melani Nanai scored form a perfectly placed Harry Plummer cross-kick in the final minute of the game to introduce some respectability to the scoreline.