TODAY |

As It Happened: Waratahs v Highlanders

Fulltime: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 35 - TRY! Icing on the cake for Sopoaga and Osborne. Too smart for the Waratahs as the dinky chip to the wing finds the winger who cruises in. Emphatic way to get to the final.

75 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 30 - Drop Goal!This time he nails it! Sopoaga makes good with a drop goal from thirty out in front.

69 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 27 - Just when the players are getting tired they step up the physicality a notch. Huge hits coming in.

60 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 27 - Sopoaga misses another penalty in front. Tut tut tut.

58 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 27 - PENALTY TRY! Patrick Osborne comes off the long run, almost gets to the line but for Jacques Poitgeiter's swinging arm to the face, deemed to have stopped the try. Add a yellow card to the punishment.

54 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 20 - TRY! What a try! Waisake Naholo runs out of room on the right touchline and toes it ahead. First appearance is it's too long but he wins the race against the defence and the chalk. Kick from the corner is off the post.

50 mins: Waratahs 17 Highlanders 15 - Foley adds three more to get the second forty scoring underway. Highlanders on their last warning before the cards come out.

43 mins: Waratahs 14 Highlanders 15 - Aaron Smith held up after a sneaky quick tap. Great start to the second half.

Forty minutes left to find the second finalist....

Halftime: Waratahs 14 Highlanders 15 - Well earned penalty forty in front and two minutes past the siren for Sopoaga but he fluffs it. Poor first half for the new All Black trainee.

37 mins: Waratahs 14 Highlanders 15 - Foley drops it cold but he was under offside duress. Thirty metres in front and Foley narrows the gap to one.

34 mins: Waratahs 11 Highlanders 15 - TRY! Richard Buckman must be covered in vasoline. A terrible pass from Aaron Smith creates the problem and Buckman scrambles through a collection of tackles to find himself behind enemy lines, winning a thirty metre foot race with Israel Folau. Sopoaga nails from the wide angle.

30 mins: Waratahs 11 Highlanders 8 - Foley bangs this one over from forty in front. Bread and butter for him as the Highlanders give up the three.

25 mins: Waratahs 8 Highlanders 8 - Sopoaga back from his head knock has a crack at the drop goal but it fades left of the uprights.

23 mins: Waratahs 8 Highlanders 8 - The Waratahs move powerfully upfield and draw the breakdown penalty bang in front. Simple for Foley.

19 mins: Waratahs 5 Highlanders 8 - TRY! Aaron Smith steals one! Cliffy Palu passes the five metre scrum ball straight into the path of the cheeky halfback. Ben Smith misses the kick as Sopoaga gets a concussion check.

12 mins: Waratahs 5 Highlanders 3 - TRY! They soaked up the early pressure and came back strong, building up nicely for Bernard Foley to wiper kick to an unmarked Rob Horne on the left. Kick is wobbly and away.

4 mins: Waratahs 0 Highlanders 3 - All of the early heat on the Waratahs after two quick errors and they incur the penalty on the 22. Sopoaga makes no mistake from the handy position.

Kick-off: Waratahs 0 Highlanders 0 - Lima Sopoaga kicks it all off in Sydney. The winner meets the Hurricanes next Saturday in Wellington.

PRE MATCH

The boys from Darling Harbour are one game away from back-to-back finals with the darlings of the 2015 comp lying in wait.

Round five saw these two teams slug it out under the Forsyth Barr roof but come on, that was in March. If anything, the Highlanders have built on their credentials but is it a week too far for them?

The Dunedin-based side won't be daunted and getting to this point will still be a great result whereas the Tahs have more to lose with 13 current Wallabies in their ranks.

Talk has been about their big boys in the pack though this Highlander's eight has been the match of all and sundry - and their backline has been the icing of the cake.

That they are using their fifth-string openside flanker is testament to Jamie Joseph's squad depth and James Lentjies bangs heads with Wallaby Michael Hooper no less.

News from the Waratah camp this week revolved around the absence of the injured Kurtly Beale but if anything that has put more of an onus on Israel Folau, touted to take on the extra workload.

The Highlanders will be up for this and the Waratahs will bring their physical edge, however who is going to nail those big moments.

Kick off is 10pm (NZT).

Waratahs: 1-Benn Robinson, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Will Skelton, 5-David Dennis (C), 6-Jacques Potgieter, 7-Michael Hooper (VC), 8-Wycliff Palu, 9-Nick Phipps, 10-Bernard Foley, 11-Rob Horne, 12-Matt Carraro, 13-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14-Taqele Naiyaravoro, 15-Israel Folau (VC)

Replacements: 16-Tolu Latu, 17-Jeremy Tilse, 18-Paddy Ryan, 19-Mitchell Chapman, 20-Stephen Hoiles, 21-Patrick McCutcheon, 22-Brendan McKibbin, 23-Jono Lance

Highlanders: 1-Brendon Edmonds, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Josh Hohneck, 4-Alex Ainley, 5-Mark Reddish, 6-Elliot Dixon, 7-James Lentjes, 8-Nasi Manu, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Lima Sopoaga, 11-Patrick Osborne, 12-Richard Buckman, 13-Malakai Fekitoa, 14-Waisake Naholo, 15-Ben Smith

Replacements: 16-Ash Dixon, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Ross Geldenhuys, 19-Joe Wheeler, 20-Gareth Evans, 21-Fumiaki Tanaka, 22-Trent Renata, 23-Shaun Treeby