Highlanders of old rout Rebels
Cape Town - The Highlanders put their frustrating start to the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign behind them - as well as the late withdrawal of star fullback Ben Smith - to trounce the Rebels in their cross-Tasman clash in Dunedin on Friday.
As it happened: Highlanders v Rebels
The Highlanders won 51-12 after leading 20-0 at half-time.
The Highlanders, the 2015 champions, had two wins from five starts heading into the clash at the Forsyth Barr Stadium this season, scoring a meagre eight tries in the process, but put that behind them with a superb display of attacking rugby to keep a sorry Rebels side winless.
The Highlanders scored six tries through centres Malakai Fekitoa (2) and Richard Buckman, No 8 Luke Whitelock, flank Gareth Evans and replacement hooker, Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Flyhalf Marty Banks landed five conversions as well as three penalties for a personal haul of 19 points. Replacement Fletcher Smith also added a conversion.
The Rebels replied with tries by wing Tom English and centre Reece Hodge. Hodge added the conversion of his own, 77th minute try.
The Highlanders, who had star scrumhalf Aaron Smith playing in his 100th Super Rugby match, picked up a full-house of five points for their victory and moved to fourth in the ultra-competitive New Zealand Conference.
The Rebels left empty-handed.
In next weekend's Round 7 action, the Highlanders host the Blues in Dunedin (Saturday, April 8 at 09:35 SA time), while the Rebels have a bye.
15 Matt Faddes, 14 Tevita Li, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman (captain), 1 Aki Seiuli
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Tupou Sopoaga, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Teihorangi Walden
15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Substitutes: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Ben Volavola