May 20, 2017
The Highlanders recorded the biggest ever win in their Super Rugby history with 55-6 victory over the Force in Perth.
The result represents their highest ever points total outside of New Zealand and means the Highlanders move within two points of the third-placed Chiefs in the New Zealand Conference.
The Highlanders are now on 41 points with the Chiefs and Hurricanes on 43 points but the latter leading because of a superior points difference.
Tries from Tevita Li, Patrick Osborne, Rob Thompson (2), Dillon Hunt, Richard Buckman and Aki Seiuli (2) for the Highlanders meant the Force missed a chance to jump to second on the Australia Conference.
It was a solid performance from the away side and shows their strength in depth as they left Aaron Smith, Waisake Naholo and a fit-again Lima Sopoaga out of the starting lineup.
It is their sixth win in a row against Australian opposition and the Aussie sides have still failed to win against a New Zealand in Super Rugby this season.
The Highlanders have now made it eight wins in a row and are miles ahead of the competition along with the other New Zealand sides barring the Blues.
Tevita Li definitely looked as if he had something to prove and was keen to involve himself by coming off the right wing, enjoying a good game in place of the suspended Waisake Naholo.
Marty Banks, as usual, gave a masterclass in kicking from the tee while the Highlanders ran in seven tries to the Force's nil.
Pens: Prior 2
Yellow Card: Masirewa, Arnold
Tries: Li, Seiuli 2, Osborne, Thompson 2, Hunt, Buckman
Con: Banks 5
Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes (c), 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 James Verity-Amm
Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon (c), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson
Referee: Shuhei Kubo
Assistant Referees: Ed Martin, Damon Murphy
TMO: Ian Smith