Highlanders opened their scoring account first against the high flying Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, but the away side dominated the opening term with a few tries on the board ahead of half-time, 14-28. Going into the 2nd half though, the Chiefs were simply too good while extending their huge lead with another set of big touch scores; Although the Landers had the final say with the late TRY just before full-time whistle, 28-52.
Gotta say that the Highlanders fired off really well by surprise against the still undefeated Chiefs, even though they’ve couldn’t stay ahead of top spot through the opening 40 minutes. But then a really poor/isolated defense, ill-discipline, lack of fight & incomplete attacking conversions have punished them in the end with a big loss unfortunately – despite showing some fight at times. That sums up how the Landers play their rugby at the moment where they’re just still hanging on 8th spot of 12th in the Playoffs bubble, as they got another tough game ahead v the ACT Brumbies in Canberra next Sunday arvo.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are still lighting the whole competition undefeated after 10 regular-season rounds of 14 so far in 2023. They might have been behind at the start away from home, but the way the Chiefs fought back with so much attacking flair & executions has erupted Forsyth Barr Stadium. A mix of interceptions, running through the Highlanders gaps through the channels, creative cross kicks & patience with the ball were all the key ingredients that made the Chiefs so unbeatable tonight. Now they got the QLD Reds next Friday in Waikato, but improving on strong starts would help if they wish to go all the way in the Playoffs by winning the Final.