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Highlanders hit back to claim win

The Highlanders claimed a 26-19 bonus-point win as they came from behind to beat Super Rugby champions the Waratahs in Dunedin on Saturday.

Nick Phipps and Matthew Carraro scored to put the Waratahs ahead before the Highlanders hit back with tries from Tom Franklin, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith and Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga kicking three conversions.

Stephen Hoiles scored a late try to set up a nervy finish for the hosts, who held on for a stunning comeback win.

The Waratahs made a quick start and took a 12-0 lead in the 20th minute after tries from Phipps and Carraro, with Bernard Foley kicking a conversion.

Waratahs tighthead Sekope Kepu was sent to the sin bin shortly after for team fouls and the Highlanders took advantage of the extra man as Franklin touched down as they pushed the visitors' seven-man scrum back.

Naholo scored the Highlanders' second after running 55 metres in the 39th minute to put his side 14-12 ahead at half-time.

Smith added a third try for the home side in the 44th minute before Osborne slipped through a tackle and went over for their fourth just three minutes later.

Hoiles pulled one back for the Tahs with two minutes remaining to set up a tense finish, but the Highlanders held on for victory.

The result means the Highlanders have beaten the two most recent Super Rugby champions in the space of eight days following their victory over the Chiefs last week.

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