In their opening two games of the Super Rugby season, the Highlanders have made one thing clear – they're going to run, and run, and run.
When they hosted the Stormers tonight at Forsyth Barr Stadium, just over three minutes inside the opposition 22 was all they needed to run in five tries and claim a 33-15 bonus point win.
Looking to run at every opportunity, the Highlanders backline was superb. Tevita Nabura was impressive on the left wing in his Super Rugby debut, as was No.12 Teihorangi Walden, while right winger Waisake Naholo was arguably the best player on the pitch.
The Stormers on the other hand will likely do some searching on their way back to South Africa, finishing their three-match road trip without a win. The South African side had the better of the territory battle but were unable to make it count and they struggled to penetrate the Highlanders defence.
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The Highlanders showed their hand early, launching a fast, second-phase driven attack that saw Walden set up loose forward Liam Squire with a lovely flick pass for the opening try of the match inside five minutes.
The Stormers hit back almost immediately through big forward Chris van Zyl, before No.10 Damian Willemse pounced on a loose ball from a failed Highlanders attack and ran the length of the pitch to put his side ahead against the run of play.
Despite the score, the Highlanders looked the more likely team to push on with the job. Their ball-in-hand mindset was opening some holes in the Stormers' defence, and Naholo made the most of it.
The winger found some space on the right hand side of the pitch and fended off three would-be tacklers before sending Aaron Smith across the line. Naholo was the next to score and, at halftime, the Highlanders held a slim lead.
It was more of the same in the second period, with Luke Whitelock getting over the line while a number of other chances went begging.
Smith put the final touches on the match late in the piece, sealing a deserved bonus point win.
Highlanders 33 (Aaron Smith 2, Liam Squire, Waisake Naholo, Luke Whitelock tries; Lima Sopoaga 4 cons)
Stormers 15 (Chris Van Zyl, Damian Willemse tries; SP Marais con, pen)