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Highlanders revival continues against Stormers

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Friday, April 28, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

The win was made in the first half. After conceding an early try, the Highlanders picked up the tempo and crossed for five tries to take a 31-7 lead at the break. With ball in hand, the Highlanders shifted the ball at speed and kept the ball alive with offloads and passes from the ground. On defence, the Highlanders held a tight line and chased their kicks with desperation to keep the Stormers under pressure.

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In his 50th match for the Highlanders, wing Patrick Osborne was the hero of the first half by crossing for a double and setting up another with a remarkable offload to Rob Thompson.

The Stormers came to New Zealand with big wraps and started strongly by scoring first when skipper Siya Kolisi broke the line to feed blindside flanker Nizaam Carr to score.

But that was to be it for the visitors in the first half as the Highlanders took complete control and tackles were missed with alarming regularity by the Stormers.

Trailing 31-7 at the break, the Stormers needed something special in the second half and came out in determined fashion. Keeping the ball in tight, the Stormers spent ten minutes camped near the Highlanders line before the Highlanders went 80 metres to score. In a play that summed up the game for the Stormers, a loose ball went into the hands of Rob Thompson who chipped forward for Waisake Naholo to score from an unfortunate bounce that confused the Stormers defenders.



If Patrick Osborne was the star of the first half, Aaron Smith was the standout in the second spell. Playing at electric speed, Smith ignited the Highlanders with his speedy service and kept the tempo high as the Highlanders crossed for four tries in the second half to secure a record 57-14 win over the Stormers. 

In the end it was a festival for the Highlanders as the win was capped off with a Joe Wheeler chip through to Matt Faddes to score.

The Highlanders now head off on a South African road trip where they face the Cheetahs and Bulls while the Stormers finish their stay in New Zealand with a clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

SCORERS:
Highlanders 57 (Patrick Osborne 2, Waisake Naholo 2, Liam Squire, Rob Thompson, Dillon Hunt, Greg Pleasents-Tate, Matt Faddes tries, Marty Banks 5 con, Fletcher Smith con) Stormers 14 (Nizaam Carr, Dewaldt Duvenage tries, Robert du Preez 2 con)
HT: 31-7