Brilliant Folau Fakatava inspires Highlanders to 27-19 win against Reds

Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava celebrates his a try against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

Matt Roberts/Getty Photos

Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava celebrates his a attempt towards the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

At Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane: Highlanders 27 (Thomas Umaga-Jensen attempt 32min, Scott Gregory attempt 60min, Folau Fakatava attempt 66min; Mitch Hunt con, 2 pens, Marty Banks 2 cons). Reds 19 (Jock Campbell attempt 17min, Josh Flook attempt 28min, Ryan Smith attempt 54min; Lawson Creighton 2 cons). HT: 10-12 Yellow playing cards: Josh Dickson 12min, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 16min

The Highlanders have taken a major step in direction of the highest eight with a gritty win towards the Reds, regardless of shedding two gamers to the sin bin within the first half.

Flanker Billy Harmon was a standout for the Highlanders in Brisbane.

Matt Roberts/Getty Photos

Flanker Billy Harmon was a standout for the Highlanders in Brisbane.

Halfback Folau Fakatava supplied the inspiration with an distinctive 25-minute spell off the bench, establishing one try to scoring one other as he tormented the Reds’ defence within the remaining levels.

The Highlanders had been in a deep gap of their very own making early on as Josh Dickson and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u had been proven yellow playing cards, however they had been lifted by a giant effort by Billy Harmon, and fought again from a 12-0 deficit.

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Lock Dickson was proven a yellow card after 12 minutes for prime contact on Reds prop Feao Fotuaika, regardless of simply getting back from a two-game ban for the same deal with.

Sarcastically, Dickson’s ban had been lowered by every week after taking World Rugby’s deal with approach course, however he nonetheless didn’t adequately wrap his left arm within the incident, and referee Nic Berry noticed sufficient contact with Fotuaika’s head to provide a yellow card.

Mikaele-Tu’u adopted him to the naughty chair 4 minutes later for lifting Reds No 10 Lawson Creighton and tipping him in direction of the bottom, though the No 8 pulled out of the deal with halfway by way of and the incident was on the milder finish of the size.

Reds midfielder Josh Flook climbs above Mitch Hunt to grab a high kick and score his side's second try.

Matt Roberts/Getty Photos

Reds midfielder Josh Flook climbs above Mitch Hunt to seize a excessive kick and rating his facet’s second attempt.

The lack of the pair successfully value the Highlanders 12 factors because the Reds scored tries to Jock Campbell and Josh Flook, and Mitch Hunt missed two comparatively simple penalty photographs at aim to make issues more durable.

Regardless of these self-inflicted wounds, there have been flashes of promise within the backline. Connor Backyard-Bachop, taking part in his finest recreation of the season at fullback, regarded elusive with ball in hand, and Thomas Umaga-Jensen confirmed energy, footwork and acceleration to beat 5 defenders on the best way to the attempt line.

However, the sport actually turned when the Highlanders injected Marty Banks and Fakatava for the final 25 minutes, changing Mitch Hunt and Aaron Smith.

Fakatava had an instantaneous affect, organising the assault and presenting a operating menace near the ruck. No matter how the Highlanders’ season pan outs, it was a efficiency that can please the All Blacks selectors.

Instantly, the velocity of the ball was faster for the Highlanders, with Fakatava placing the defence in two minds. The arrogance lacking from the Highlanders’ assault for many of the season started to return, whereas substitute hooker Rhys Marshall additionally confirmed his large worth with one other sharp and tidy show.

Outdoors again Josh Timu additionally made a shock return from the bench, and made probably the most of his second-half minutes with some good defensive reads.

Huge second

Folau Fakatava’s close-range attempt after 66 minutes gave the Highlanders an eight-point buffer at 27-19, they usually obtained the job finished from that place.

Match score: 7.5/10

It wasn’t a traditional, however the Highlanders’ grit over the previous two weeks has been admirable, and they look like shifting in the appropriate path on the proper time of the yr.

The massive image

The Highlanders transfer into the highest eight and have taken management of their finals future. They host the Western Power in Dunedin subsequent Friday, and can return house with a little bit of wind of their sails.


Billy Harmon. Three video games into his comeback from a long-term shoulder damage, the No 7 lined each blade of grass at Suncorp Stadium. His ball carrying was glorious, and he made a mountain of tackles.

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