Aaron Smith, Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne all scored for the Highlanders as they knocked defending Super Rugby champions the Waratahs out at the semi final stage on Saturday. The 35-17 win wasn’t without controversy though.
Referee Craig Joubert has come under heavy critiscism for his handling of a few key decisions, perhaps most notably with the yellow card and penalty try that he gave for what he deemed to be a high tackle by departing Waratahs star, Jacques Potgieter.
Coach Michael Cheika was none too pleased, but managed to control his emotions, while still making it clear what he thought of the decision. Highlanders Ben Smith however, said that is was clear enough.
“I had no doubt it was a penalty try,” he said in the post match press conference, which you can see on page two. It includes words from Cheika, and disappointed Dave Dennis.
The Highlanders victory sets up a fascinating tussle with fellow New Zealand side the Hurricanes, who have been far and away the most impressive side in the competition all season. Their victory over the Brumbies was comfortable in the end.
With a few key stars however, the likes of Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa in particular, the Highlanders will fancy their chances, and perhaps relish the underdog tag.