South Africa's Stormers have all but ended the Highlanders' semi-final chances in the Super 14 rugby competition with an 18 to 11 victory in Dunedin.
It was 6-0 to the home side at half-time.
Ben Smith crossed for the sole try in the second half for the Highlanders but the Stormers scored twice with Peter Grant's 70th minute try giving his side the breathing space they held to the end at Carisbrook.
The match was punctuated by several niggly confrontations, with one provoked by a claim by the Highlanders that loosehead prop Jamie McIntosh had been bitten at a ruck in the first half.
The Highlanders secured a bonus point for finishing within seven points but remain in 10th place on the table on 23 points with other teams above them still to play over the weekend.
In Perth the Western Force thrashed the Lions of South Africa 55-14 in an eight tries to two demolition, the Force's biggest-ever win and highest score.