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Highlanders get off to losing start

The Highlanders got off to a losing start in the defence of their Super Rugby title as they went down 33-31 to the Blues.

They actually outscored their hosts by four tries to three, but the last of those - a 77th-minute dot down by Ben Smith - gave the result a more flattering look.

Melani Nanai, Blake Gibson and Patrick Tuipulotu all went in for the Blues, the latter score decisive and coming a minute after the Highlanders' Patrick Osborne was sin-binned with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Smith went in twice for the Highlanders, with Teihorangi Walden and Waisake Naholo also crossing the line in a high-scoring opening contest.

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