28 Feb 2010

Highlanders claim first away win in Super 14 in two years

6:54 am on 28 February 2010

Fullback Israel Dagg kicked 14 points to help the Highlanders notch their first Super 14 rugby away win in two years with a 31-24 win over the Cheetahs.

The visitors, who had not won on the road since May 2008, scored three tries to two to pick up their first win of the season after two home defeats.

The Cheetahs, last year's bottom team, lost their fifth home match in a row despite trailing by only two points going into the final quarter, when the Highlanders took control with a late try.

The home side scored two tries through international flankers Heinrich Brussow and Juan Smith, while first five Naas Olivier totalled 14 points from four penalties and a conversion.

The Highlanders, 11th in 2009, scored two tries in the opening half to centre Kendrick Lynn and winger Fetu'u Vainikolo, while Dagg kicked four penalties either side of halftime to open up a 24-19 lead.

Olivier kept his side in the hunt throughout but first five Michael Hobbs, who kicked an earlier conversion, sealed the game for the Highlanders by scoring their third try eight minutes from time.

Smith dotted down for the Cheetahs in the dying minutes but the veteran of 62 test matches could not inspire his team to what would have been a stirring comeback.