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Highlanders beat Chiefs, ACT roll over Western Force

March 6, 2015

Replacement flyhalf Marty Banks kicked two late penalties to give the Highlanders a 20-17 win over the Chiefs in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby match in Hamilton on Friday.

The Highlanders had only 18 percent of territory in the first half but led 14-3 at halftime after a try to Patrick Osborne.

The Chiefs were awarded two penalty tries from scrums in the second half to go ahead 17-14, as the Highlanders lost a prop to injury and a lock to a yellow card.

However, Banks leveled the scores at 17-17 in the 76th minute, and landed a 43-meter penalty after the final hooter to give the Highlanders their second win in three games, while snapping the Chiefs’ three-match winning streak.

Despite the loss, a competition bonus point for losing by fewer than seven points moved the Chiefs into first place in the New Zealand conference, a point ahead of the Hurricanes, who have a bye. The Highlanders are in third place, five points behind the Chiefs.

At Canberra, Australia, winger Joe Tomane, who scored ACT’s second try, and Henry Speight, who set up man-of-the-match Ben Alexander’s try, led the Australian conference-leading Brumbies to a bonus-point, four-try 27-15 win over the Western Force.

The Brumbies, with a nine-point lead over second-place Melbourne, turned down more than a half-dozen shots at goal to use their maul as an attacking weapon, and it paid dividends.

Rory Arnold opened the scoring in the seventh minute after one lineout drive was brought down just meters short, while halfback Nic White crossed over in similar fashion for the fourth try in the 48th.

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Scorers:

Highlanders 20 (Patrick Osborne try; Lima Sopoaga 3 penalties, Marty Banks 2 penalties), Chiefs 17 (2 penalty tries; Aaron Cruden 2 conversions, penalty). HT: 14-3.

ACT 27 (Ben Alexander, Rory Arnold, Joe Tomane, Nic White tries; Christian Leali’ifano 2 conversions, penalty), Western Force 15 (Nick Cummins, Steve Mafi tries; Zack Holmes conversion, penalty). HT: 19-8.

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