Highlanders put Blues to the sword

Lima Sopoaga (File)
Lima Sopoaga (File)

Cape Town - The Highlanders stepped up their title ambitions with a comprehensive thrashing of the Blues in their final Super Rugby league match in Auckland on Friday.

As it happened: Blues v Highlanders

The Highlanders won 44-7 after leading 20-0 at half-time.

The Highlanders scored seven tries through flanks John Hardie and Elliot Dixon, wing Patrick Osborne, centre Shaun Treeby, No 8 Dan Pryor, lock Joe Latta and fullback Ben Smith. Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was on target with three conversions and a penalty.

The Blues replied with a try by replacement Matt McGahan and a conversion by flyhalf Ihaia West.

The Highlanders picked up a full-house of five points and moved to second in the New Zealand Conference and fourth in the Overall standings.

The Blues left empty-handed and remained bottom of the New Zealand Conference and 14th in the Overall log.

The Highlanders will now face an anxious wait to see whether they will host a "quarter-final" next weekend.

Teams:

Blues

15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Joe Edwards, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain)1 Sam Prattley

Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Will Lloyd, 20 Jack Ram, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Lolagi Visinia

Highlanders

15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Dan Pryor, 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Latta, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Kurt Baker

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