Cape Town – The defending champion Highlanders sent a timely reminder to their foes that they will not relinquish their Super Rugby title without a fight this season after beating the 2014 champions, the Waratahs, in Sydney on Friday.
The Highlanders won 30-26 after leading 22-0 at half-time.
The Highlanders scored four tries through wing Ryan Tongia, No 8 Liam Squire and flank Elliot Dixon (2). Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was on target with two conversions, a penalty and a drop goal.
The Waratahs replied with four tries of their own through replacements Jed Holloway (3) and Tom Robertson. Flyhalf Kurtley Beale, who had an off night with the boot, was successful with three conversions.
The Highlanders picked up four points for their victory, while the Waratahs had to be content one a single log point for losing by seven or fewer points.
In next weekend’s Round 5 action, the Highlanders travel to Melbourne to face the Rebels (Saturday, March 26 at 10:45), while the Waratahs visit Brisbane to play the Reds (Sunday, March 27 at 07:05).
15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Reece Robinson
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Ryan Tongia, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Jason Emery