A Matt Faddes hat-trick powered the Highlanders to a 42-26 win over the Crusaders in a Super Rugby warm-up game at Fred Booth Park.
In a match where both sides named All Blacks-laden starting XVs in their final hitout, it was the Highlanders who were largely dominant throughout.
It took only a couple of minutes for the Highlanders to get on the board, as outside centre Faddes claimed a loose ball and ran 50m to score.
Young lock Jackson Hemopo then burst through the defensive line and crossed over to put the Highlanders 14-0 up.
However, the Crusaders then took a 19-14 lead thanks to tries from scrumhalf Bryn Hall and prop Wyatt Crockett in between a penalty try.
Faddes then crossed for his second and third tries to give the Highlanders a half-time 28-19 lead.
The Crusaders started the second half strongly and brought themselves within two points of the lead with a try from wing Braydon Ennor.
The Highlanders recovered and sealed the win with a penalty try and a try from centre Teihorangi Walden.
Highlanders (42) – Tries: Matt Faddes (3), Jackson Hemopo, pen try, Tei Walden Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (3), Fletcher Smith (2).
Crusaders (26) – Tries: pen try, Bryn Hall, Wyatt Crockett, Braydon Ennor. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Hunt
Photo: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images