Sopoaga late show denies Bulls

Lima Sopoaga was the last-gasp hero for the Highlanders as they snatched a 29-28 victory over the Bulls in Super Rugby despite being on the back foot for much of the game.

The Bulls, seeking a fourth successive victory, dominated possession and territory at Loftus Versfeld and looked to have done enough to extend their winning run when Jesse Kriel crossed for a 75th-minute try that was converted by Handre Pollard.

That left the Highlanders two points behind, but Sopoaga was handed the chance to win the game with a penalty from distance after 80 minutes had been completed and the former New Zealand fly-half held his nerve to round off a superb display of place-kicking.

Prior to the late drama, Highlanders full-back Fletcher Smith had been involved in many of the key moments.

He set up the game's first try for namesake Aaron Smith with a clever chip over the top, only to then be yellow-carded for cynically tackling Warrick Gelant off the ball to prevent a certain score, with a penalty try awarded to the Bulls as a result.

Pollard claimed an opportune interception try he also converted to make it 14-7 to the hosts, but Sopoaga landed penalties either side of the interval to keep the Highlanders in touch.

After Fletcher Smith had rounded off a stunning breakaway move involving Aaron and Ben Smith, Sopoaga's boot ensured the visitors remained ahead even though Jason Jenkins powered over with 23 minutes remaining.

Kriel appeared set to be the Bulls' hero, but it was Sopoaga who had the final say.

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