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Highlanders into playoffs beating Drua

The Highlanders have secured a Super Rugby Pacific playoffs place after a comfortable 39-3 win over Fijian Drua in Dunedin in a rare Sunday afternoon game.

Recovering strongly from their big loss to the Blues last week, the Highlanders scored four tries to nil and looked a much more comfortable side going into the final round robin of the regular season.


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The home side opened the scoring in the 18th minute, with Jona Nareki, who hadn't played for the side since April 19 scoring his first of two tries.

Ten minutes later, Nareki created a try with a dummy and some explosive power at halfway before the pace of Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens was too much for he defence.

With a lead of 18-0 at halftime the Highlanders quickly scored again through Nareki as they dominated their opposition.

Then some slick interaction between Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens and Timoci Tavatavanawai sent the latter away for a try. for the wing to dot down.

The Highlanders have secured a quarterfinal position in the Super Rugby playoffs
Jona Nareki (pictured) scored two tries in the Hghlanders big win over the Fijian Drua in Dunedin. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC

In the last stanza of the match Nikora Broughton was gifted an interception to move the scoreline further ahead.

Sam Gilbert converted all four tries and kicked a couple of penalties as well while Folau Fakatava possibly gave the All Blacks selectors a remind he is still around and keen to play.

The Highlanders play away to the Hurricanes in to Wellington on Saturday to close out their regular season.

Highlanders 39 (Jona Nareki 2, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Nikora Broughton tries; Sam Gilbert 4 con, 2 pen) Fijian Drua 3 ( Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula pen). HT: 18-0


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