The Otago Highlanders set up an all New Zealand final in the Super 15 championship after they defeated the News South Wales Waratahs on Saturday. Michael Cheika's side were comfortably beaten in the end by an impressive Highlanders team whch featured some star All Black players in the side. The final score was 35-17 at Allianz Stadium in Australia.
This defeat for the Waratahs ends the Australian sides supreme reign over Super Rugby. Last years champions were convincingly beaten by the netter side and can have no complaints.
All Black scrum half Aaron Smith and Richard Buckman scored the opening tries for the Highlanders in the first half and the tally was added to in the second half with tries from Waisake Noholo, a penalty try and a late Patrick Osborne try gave the Highlanders a convincing win.
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All Black and Highlanders' captain Ben Smith congratulated his side on a difficult victory and stated: "We know how hard it is to play against the Waratahs over here.
"I think we got it right but we have another big challenge next week."
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Certainly it sets up an exciting fixture for the final as the all New Zealand clash will have many of the world's best players on show battling against eachother. The match looks to be extremely even as both sides have played excellent offensive rugby all season.
The two packs are similar with the Highlanders bringing a fantastic work rate. Although none of the Highlanders' forwards have been selected for the preliminary All Black side, they no doubt will be looking to make a statement for coach Steve Hansen and with the Rugby Championship and World Cup on the horizon there may be a place for one or two of their most impressive forwards.
The Hurricanes however have a star studded side with many All Black players. Having finished the season as the top ranked side of all the 15 teams their dominant performance against the Brumbies will certainly have the Highlanders worried. The Hurricanes have scored the most tries in this Super Rugby campaign and with wingers such as Julian Savea they will be extremely difficult to stop.
What is certain however is that it is a match which must not be missed if you are a rugby fan. Some of the world's best players will be on show and will have it is certain to be an extremely high octane match with plenty of points scored by both sides.
It looks on form however that one cannot look past the Hurricanes. With the loss of Jerry Collins it will be an extra incentive for the men form Wellington to put on a show and bring home the Super Rugby trophy after a long wait to the famous New Zealand city. The match is being played in Wellington and it is only the second time for the Canes to play in a final the last being in 2006.
However, players such as Ben Smith, Aaron Smith and winger Naholo alongside the excellent pack will do everything i their power to bring the Super Rugby trophy to the deep south of New Zealand, Otago. It looks to be a mouth watering encounter.
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