27 Feb 2015

Highlanders beat the Reds

9:59 pm on 27 February 2015

The Highlanders have beaten the Queensland Reds 20-13 in their Super Rugby match in Dunedin.

Malakai Fekitoa in action for the Highlanders.

Malakai Fekitoa in action for the Highlanders. Photo: Photosport

It is the southern side's first win of the new season, and the Highlanders never trailed, leading 9-3 at half-time.

The two teams traded penalties before Reds No.8 Jake Schatz scored the opening try on 50 minutes from close range, after a rare scrum that didn't collapse - the scrums were again a mess all night, in another sign of that ongoing issue early in the season.

Queensland kicker James O'Connor converted for a 10-9 lead, but Highlanders first five Marty Banks then slotted his fourth penalty from right in front to regain the lead, 12-10.

That advantage was boosted to 17-10 when right winger Waisake Naholo crossed for the hosts with 13 minutes remaining, with replacement first five Hayden Parker unable to convert from near the sideline.

But Parker did add to the scoreline with a 77th-minute penalty, to put the Highlanders out to their final scoreline, and too far in front for the visitors to threaten.

A late Reds penalty was enough for a consolation bonus point.

Banks started in the No.10 jersey, with regular playmaker Lima Sopoaga out all week for a personal family reason, and the Tasman Makos man also kicked 3 first-half penalties from 4 attempts. In all Banks kicked 4 from 5 attempts, before he was replaced by Parker.

Former Highlanders and All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson returned to face his old team for the first time as a Queensland player, following his stint in Japanese rugby.

Review the live commentary of the match here