Reduced to 14 men due to a controversial red card with 12 minutes to go while trailing by four points, the visitors managed to take back the lead thanks to a try by replacement halfback Aaron Smith and the astute goal kicking of first-five Josh Ioane inside the last 10 minutes.
Given the circumstances of their come-from-behind win over their New Zealand rivals, it’s understandable that the Highlanders wanted to celebrate their impressive win in style – and that they did.
Footage has emerged on midfielder Rob Thompson’s Instagram account of the team gathered in Waikato Stadium changing rooms knocking back beers as head coach Aaron Mauger leads the celebrations with guitar in hand while his players sing in unison.
Thompson played an important role in his side’s victory, linking up well in the middle of the park alongside youngster Thomas Umaga-Jensen, who caught the eye with an impressive display in just his second Super Rugby appearance.
He was one of many standouts in an experimental Highlanders side, with Smith, Ioane, Shannon Frizell, Tevita Li, Pari Pari Parkinson and Tyrel Lomax all making their presence felt throughout the encounter.
The result leaves the Highlanders on top of the New Zealand conference, and they now prepare to face the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin next weekend.
Rugby World Cup City Guides – Oita:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now