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The Highlanders brought to an end a five-match Vodacom Super Rugby winning streak by the Vodacom Bulls in Dunedin on Saturday morning when they beat the three time champions by 16-11. It was a classic arm wrestle in which the Highlanders' advantage in territory and possession in the second half paved the way for the victory. The Vodacom Bulls also struggled to convert a clear first-half advantage into points as they simply made too many errors.
In the first half, the Vodacom Bulls dominated the home team, especially in the line-outs, but they weren't properly switched on on attack and as a result only lead by 6-3 at the break.
The Highlanders fixed their line-out after the break and played most of the rugby in the Vodacom Bulls' half. They also deprived the team from Pretoria from possession.
The visitors' discipline was also not great, especially at the breakdown, and Dean Greyling (loosehead prop) was sent to the sin bin in the 56th minute after a team warning by the referee.
The crack in their 14-man defence finally appeared in the 64th minute as Jarrad Hoeata (lock) scored the home team's first and only try when he crashed over from short range. The try came moments after the TMO had ruled that a previous tryline-crossing was inconclusive.
The Vodacom Bulls managed to get their hands on the ball a bit more after that and when replacement hooker Willie Wepener scored with five minutes left on the clock, it was game on.
However, MornÃ© Steyn, playing in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Vodacom Bulls, missed the conversion â€“ his third unsuccessful kick of the match â€“ and the Highlanders' defence held firm in the final stages to secure them the win.
Highlanders â€“ Try: Jarrad Hoeata. Conversion: Mike Delany. Penalty goals: Delany (3).
Vodacom Bulls â€“ Try: Willie Wepener. Penalty goals: MornÃ© Steyn (2).
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