Planet Rugby

Highlanders hammer Rebels

30th March 2012 07:12

Share:

Hosea Gear highlanders v rebels

Highlanders: Back to winning ways

A second-half scoring blitz from the Highlanders helped the hosts to a comprehensive 43-12 win over the Rebels in Invercargill on Friday.

It was an impressive return to winning ways for the Kiwi outfit, who bounced back from last week's loss to the Brumbies with a seven-try victory.

Adam Thomson bagged a hat-trick and Ben Smith a brace as the Highlanders clawed their way back from nine points down in the first half to draw level at half-time (12-12), before burying their visitors after the break.

The bonus-point win takes the southerners top of the overall standings and now lead the New Zealand conference - albeit temporarily depending on how other results go on Saturday.

The Rebels were in the game for forty minutes and would have fancied their chances of pulling off an upset after leading 9-0 thanks to three James O'Connor penalties.

Even against fourteen men, the Highlanders failed to get on the scoreboard after dominating the majority of possession. That all changed when Smith showed tremendous upper body strength to power his way over the line eight minutes before half-time.

Chris Noakes added the conversion and the hosts were back in the hunt.

O'Connor slotted his fourth penalty of the match, before the Highlanders responded with a well-worked try to Thomson that levelled the scores after the half-time hooter had sounded.

The home side started the second half in the same fashion they ended the first, through another five-pointer from their All Black flank. Noakes was once again unsuccessful with the conversion, but was on target three minutes later after Kade Poki touched down for the Highlanders' bonus point.

Great vision from Aaron Smith saw the scrum-half chip into open space that allowed Poki to chase down the ball and regather for a superb score - at that stage, the Rebels had conceded three tries in six minutes either side of half-time.

And there was still more to come as Jamie Mackintosh added his name to the scoresheet after crashing over from close range, before Smith broke clear to race in for his second.

Thomson then put the icing on the cake with his third try of the match to wrap up a dominant second-half display that will give them plenty of confidence ahead of their next match against the Stormers in a week's time.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Smith 2, Thomson 3, Poki, Mackintosh
Cons: Noakes 3

For Rebels:
Pens: O'Connor 4

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 James Haskell, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Doug Tietjens, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Phil Burleigh, 22 Buxton Popoali'i.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Lachlan Mitchell, 12 Lloyd Johansson, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Michael Lipman, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Julian Huxley.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

By Dave Morris

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs GriquasPumas vs Griquas Preview
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Preview
Hawkes Bay vs TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Preview
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00