Lowe scored intercept tries inside the first 18 minutes as the Hamilton franchise ended a six-match losing streak to their Otago rivals.

The last time they beat the Highlanders was early in the 2014 season, and they’d been outscored 160-93 in their meetings since then.

There was evidence early on that fortune was smiling on them this time, Lowe capitalising twice to give them a 14-3 advantage.

Coach Dave Rennie admitted after the game the performance hadn’t been the best – his team spent most of the game on the back foot – but the victory was welcome and he took satisfaction in keeping the home side try-less.

“I thought we kicked aimlessly, we didn’t defend well enough and they got in behind us a lot. There was a little bit of scrambling and desperation that stopped them from scoring,” said Rennie.

“It’s been well documented that we’ve battled against the Highlanders and they’re a real quality side. We will take any result down here, but we are going to need to be a bit better.”

The Highlanders had 72 per cent of territory in the first half but were restricted to three Lima Sopoaga penalties.

When Hika Elliot grabbed the Chiefs’ third try just six minutes into the second half, it gave them a 12-point cushion.

Highlanders coach Tony Brown said his team’s display had been very rusty, and felt they should have been able to score tries several times in the first half.

He added: “The stats probably didn’t favour us today because what ends up happening, the defence starts growing confidence from stopping us and that continued right through the first half.”

Co-captain Ben Smith is set to miss next week’s clash with the Crusaders after hitting his head on the ground when contesting a high kick with Damian McKenzie.

Summary
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Lowe double sets Chiefs on way
Description
Two first-half tries from James Lowe put the Chiefs on their way to a 24-15 win in their opening Super Rugby game of the season in Dunedin.
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Best Bet News
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