Carisbrook pain for Mains
March 17, 2000

The Cats' run of overseas Super 12 losses now stretches to 18, but they gave the Highlanders a huge fright in Dunedin tonight. Steadier first-half goal kicking from fly-half Koen would probably have given them an unlikely victory.

The Highlanders stormed into an early 2nd minute lead after a Kelleher try. For the first ten minutes they attacked the Cats relentlessly, but the onslaught was weathered and the South Africans started to fight back. A Koen penalty was all they had to show for a spirited second twenty minutes, but he had a number of straightforward opportunities to put his side into the lead. A second Kelleher try at the end of the half gave the Highlanders a comfortable 15-3 lead at half time.

The first twenty minutes of the second half were dominated by the Cats as they reduced the deficit and then stormed into the lead. Koen eventually found his range and kicked three penalties before Andre Venter and Tinus Delport scored tries. Rattled, the Highlanders responded with tries from Wilson and Alatini, the fourth try gaining them the bonus point. Refusing to give up, the Cats mounted a last ditch attack down the right flank which resulted in a Chester Williams try.

The Cats were within two points, and deserved their bonus point, but might consider themselves unlucky not to have turned the Highlanders over. Injuries to Kronfeld, Randell and Brown will be of concern for the side who still head the Super 12. But only just.

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