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Monday Jul 20, 2020

Highlanders' Jona Nareki slices through for try of the weekend contender

There was no shortage of thrilling rugby all weekend. Perhaps none more so than the Highlanders come-from-behind 33-31 win at the death over the Chiefs in Hamilton. Aaron Smith was masterful throughout, including setting up the final try. Equally impressive, however, was Jona Nareki’s 50-metre try, only moments before.

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The Chiefs held a 31-7 lead at the 47-minute mark. The guests were never truly out of the frame and gradually began to chip away.

Undoubtedly, Smith deserves much of the credit. But it was the routine substitution of Jona Nareki for Scott Gregory in the 70th minute that gave the Highlanders the extra shot in the arm they needed.

The winger was electric with every touch. With five minutes remaining, Nareki sliced through the Chiefs defence, out-pacing and fending Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi in the process. This, along with Ngani Laumape’s effort against the Blues, are two of the best tries we’ve seen this season.

Lachlan Boshier looked to have snuffed out the comeback singlehandedly after winning two crucial penalties for the Chiefs late in the game.

Things swung for the Highlanders once again with an 80th-minute penalty, allowing Aaron Smith to show why he remains one of the best 9s in the world.

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