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Warm-up rugby win for Highlanders
10:09 AEST Sat Feb 9 2013

All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu showed impressive early season form in his first match for the Highlanders as they downed the Crusaders 38-21 in a Super Rugby warm-up in Oamaru on Friday.

Turning out for his third franchise in as many years, the former Hurricanes and Blues player took the field for a touch over an hour, running and tackling strongly and scoring the opening try.

Coach Jamie Joseph also gave former Crusader Brad Thorn a good run against his old franchise as the Highlanders stepped up from last Saturday's 36-14 loss to defending champions the Chiefs in Taupo.

The Highlanders led 19-14 at halftime, eventually outscoring the Crusaders six tries to three as coach Todd Blackadder rested many of his All Blacks and gave most of his wider training squad a run.