Highlanders hang tough to beat the Bulls

11:29, May 20 2012
Chiefs v Highlanders
Chris Noakes comes in to tackle Fritz Lee.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Sonny Bill Williams on the charge against the Highlanders.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Adam Thomson passes against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Andrew Hore trys to stop Lelia Masaga as he scores the Chiefs' first try.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Andrew Hore holds his sore shoulder against the Chiefs.
Highlanders bench
The Highlanders bench feeling the intensity of a close match in the second half.
Highlanders bench
A packed Forsyth Barr Stadium for the Highlanders' debut match at their new home.
John Hardie
Highlanders No 7 John Hardie gets knocked back in the tackle.
Adam Thomson
Adam Thomson attempts to slip out of the ankle-lock by Crusader Matt Todd.
Buxton Popoali'i
Lively Highlanders wing Buxton Popoali'i is taken to the ground by Matt Todd.
Hosea Gear
Making himself an instant hero with Highlanders fans, Hosea Gear dives over for the match-winning try.
John Hardie
Highlanders openside flanker John Hardie celebrates his second half try with Tamati Ellison (left) against the Waratahs.
Adam Thomson
Highlanders No 6 Adam Thomson grabs a lineout throw against the Waratahs.
Highlanders scrum
Hooker Jason Rutledge pops up as the Highlanders scrum pushes the Waratahs back.
Hurricanes gallery
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders makes his way through a pack of Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders makes his way through a pack of Hurricanes.
Hurricanes gallery
TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes and Hosea Gear of the Highlanders tangle.
Hurricanes gallery
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes and Colin Slade of the Highlanders watch the ball.
Hurricanes gallery
Kade Poki of the Highlanders lifts TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes in the tackle.
Highlanders
Ben Smith of the Highlanders is tackled by Henry Speight of the Brumbies.
Highlanders
Henry Speight of the Brumbies fends off the tackle of Colin Slade.
Highlanders
Aaron Smith of the Highlanders is tackled by Stephen Moore of the Brumbies.
Highlanders
Ben Mowen of the Brumbies looks to pass the ball against the Highlanders.
Highlanders
Colin Slade of the Highlanders is taken from the field with a suspected broken leg against the Brumbies.
Highlanders
Colin Slade of the Highlanders is taken from the field with a suspected broken leg against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Rebels
Adam Thomson on the charge as the Rebels' James O'Connor looks on.
Highlanders v Rebels
Adam Thomson after scoring his third try of the game against the Rebels.
Highlanders v Rebels
Jimmy Cowan before feeding the ball into the scrum against the Rebels.
Highlanders v Rebels
Ben Smith being tackled by Rebels' Tom Chamberlain.
Highlanders v Rebels
Hosea Gear is tackled by Rebels' Luke Jones.
Highlanders v Rebels
Chris King & Josh Bekhuis congratule Ben Smith after his first try of the game.
Hosea Gear gallery
The Highlanders Hosea Gear makes a break with the Blues Gareth Anscombe (left) in pursuit.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Kurt Baker celebrates scoring his try in the second half against the Blues.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Kurt Baker celebrates scoring his try in the second half against the Blues.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Blues players.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders' Jarrad Hoeata tackling Blues' George Moala.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders fan Renee Stewart celebrates.
Blues v Highlanders
Blues player Tom McCartney lines up the Highlanders' Adam Thomson.
Jimmy Cowan
Jimmy Cowan gets a pass away in the Highlanders win over the Cheetahs.
James Haskell
James Haskell breaks through the Cheetahs' defence.
Jarrad Hoeata
Jarrad Hoeata looks to offload.
Adam Thomson
Adam Thomson makes a break during the Highlanders win over the Cheetahs.
Jarrad Hoeata
Hosea Gear tackles Patrick Lambie of the Sharks off the ball.
Jarrad Hoeata
Paul Jordaan and Tim Whithead of the Sharks look to tackle Nasi Manu.
Jarrad Hoeata
Sharks players celebrates after a Patrick Lambie try.
Jarrad Hoeata
Jacques Botes of the Sharks tackles Shaun Treeby.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Nasi Manu of the Highlanders is tackled against the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Adam Thomson of the Highlanders lining up a tackle on Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Mike Delany of the Highlanders is tackled by Tim Bateman of the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Hosea Gear of the Highlanders is tackled by Tim Bateman and Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes is not happy at Adam Thomson of the Highlanders being allowed his try.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison is tackled by Blues' second-five Michael Hobbs.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders flanker Adam Thomson gets isolated against the Blues.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders left wing Hosea Gear in action against the Blues.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues right wing David Raikuna is scragged by Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh attacks the Blues' line.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Adam Thompson hits Andy Ellis into touch.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Kieran Read rubs Jarrad Hoeata's face in the dirt.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Wyatt Crockett scores for the Crusdaders.
Crusaders v Highlanders
Ben Smith and Andy Ellis have a punch up.
Crusaders v Highlanders
George Whitelock of the Crusaders gets a yellow card.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Chiefs player Sonny Bill Williams is tackled by Highlanders player Tamati Ellison.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders players lie gutted on the ground after losing to the Chiefs 21-27.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Sonny Bill Williams.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders player Jarrad Hoeata is tackled.
Reds v Highlanders
Jamie Mackintosh passes to support out wide against the Reds.
Reds v Highlanders
James Haskell carries the ball up strongly for the Highlanders against the Reds.
Reds v Highlanders
Reds' Saia Faingaa runs into the tackle of James Haskell.
Reds v Highlanders
The Highlanders score late in the second half against the Reds.

The Highlanders have kept their play-off hopes alive with a courageous win against the competition leading Bulls in Dunedin tonight.

Coming off a two-game losing streak, a second half try to Jarrad Hoeta proved the difference as the Highlanders wore down their big South African opposition in the second half to win 16-11.

The Bulls took a 6-3 lead into halftime with Morne Steyn, playing his 100th game for the South African franchise, landing two penalties after his first attempt cannoned off the uprights.

Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Highlanders v Bulls
Highlanders v Bulls played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday night.

The Bulls weren't exactly enterprising through the first half, prepared to put any ball up in the air and sweat on mistakes from the Highlanders in front of a crowd of 14,967.

There were plenty of those, with the Highlanders struggling to handle the bomb and suffering from a malfunctioning lineout which coughed up four turnovers in the first spell.

Shovelling the ball wide, the Highlanders were struggling to make any inroads into the Bulls defence, which was solid for much of the half.

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Ben Smith
NO WAY THROUGH: Highlanders' fullback Ben Smith is held in the tackle.

Mike Delany levelled the scores seven minutes after the break as the Highlanders started to create some half gaps.

The second half turned into a stalemate with neither side looking like putting together a try-scoring movement.

Bulls loosehead Dean Greyling paid the price for the Bulls tactics of slowing down Highlanders' ruck ball with 57 minutes gone when he was yellow carded by referee Ian Smith.

The Highlanders came desperately close to scoring when Jarrad Hoeta tried to crash over from a goal line ruck but he was deemed to have come up just short by the Television Match Official.

He wouldn't be denied just a minute later when he slammed his way over for a vital try.

Delany's conversion had the Highlanders ahead 13-6 with 14 minutes left on the clock and momentum had clearly swung the way of the home team when Delany added a penalty with 10 minutes left for a 10-point lead.

The Bulls had a golden opportunity when Greyling went over to score a try but had the ball knocked loose by Tamati Ellison but it was only a brief respite before replacement hooker Willem Wepener barrelled his way over.

Steyn's conversion hooked left to leave the visitors trailing by five with five minutes to play.

The Bulls attacked strongly in the closing minutes but they were held out by some stoic Highlanders defence and memorable turnovers from Nasi Manu and Scott Fuglistaller.

HIGHLANDERS 16 (Jarrad Hoeta try; Mike Delany 2 pen, con)

BULLS 11 (Willem Wepener try; Morne Steyn 2 pen)

HT: 3-6

The Southland Times