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Highlanders battle back for victory

A dominant second-half display saw the injury-hit Highlanders come back to beat the Chiefs 23-19 in their opening game of the Super 15 season in Hamilton.

The hosts led 16-9 at half-time thanks to Lelia Masaga's try and three penalties from Aaron Cruden.

But the Highlanders, without seven first-team players because of injury, fought back after the interval with Aaron Smith going over in the 60th minute and Phil Burleigh following him five minutes later.

A Dom Shipperley try after the siren saw defending champions the Reds snatch a remarkable last-gasp 25-21 victory over arch-rivals the Waratahs in a bruising season opener at ANZ Stadium.

The Reds led 12-8 at half-time on the back of four Mike Harris penalties but fell behind in the 67th minute when man of the match Sarel Pretorius darted over for the Waratahs' second try of the contest. But the visitors had the final say when Brendan McKibbin failed to find touch in the final minute, allowing the Reds to counter attack.

The Reds shifted the ball the width of the field and Shipperley broke free as the siren sounded and beat a desperate last-ditch attempted tackle from Bernard Foley to complete his 60-metre run to the tryline in front of 32,071 stunned fans.

Joe Pietersen kicked 21 points as the Stormers got their campaign off to a winning start with a hard-fought 39-26 victory over the Hurricanes at Newlands Stadium.

The home side, losing semi-finalists last season and runners-up in 2010, also scored three tries through Gio Aplon, Siya Kolisi and a penalty try to go with Pietersen's haul.

The Hurricanes saw Tim Bateman and Beauden Barrett cross for tries, while Barrett added both conversions and four penalties.

Fly-half Elton Jantjies kicked a tournament record nine penalties as the Lions began with a 27-25 victory over South African rivals the Cheetahs.

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