Cape Town - The Melbourne Rebels scored their first win over the Highlanders since 2013 on Friday.
As it happened: Rebels v Highlanders
On a hot evening, with the temperatures topping 32 Celsius when the game kicked off, the Rebels upset the Highlanders
24-19, with the visitors denied a try on review with 90 seconds
The Rebels, who beat the Brumbies in their opening match before a bye
last weekend, look a different team this season with Quade Cooper
recruited from the Reds to resume a dynamic halves partnership with
fellow Wallaby Will Genia.
It was their first win in six years against the Highlanders, who were
handicapped by star All Blacks Luke Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Ben
Smith being rested in a World Cup year.
"We just took the foot off the throat a bit in the second half," said Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty.
"In the first half we weathered a storm and really got on top of
them. It wasn't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with the way the boys
The Highlanders got the early advantage with Shannon Frizell scoring
his fourth try of the season after just three minutes when the bounce
from a brilliant cross-field kick fell his way.
It woke up the Rebels and with Genia directing play they began
applying pressure, which paid off when Haylett-Petty held off a defender
before offloading to Tom English for the touchdown.
Siate Tokolahi put the Highlanders back in the lead before Genia
whipped a pass out to Cooper who drew in the defender then popped the
ball to charging winger Jack Maddocks who crossed for an easy try.
Minutes later English bagged his second to send the Rebels into the break 19-12 in front.
They stretched their lead further when a brilliant Cooper grubber
kick bounced favourably for Billy Meekes, who celebrated with some dance
The Highlanders, who had won their two previous games, hauled
themselves back into contention with Jackson Hemopo getting his first
Super Rugby try.
But despite piling on the pressure, the Rebels frantically held on
with Frizell denied a try with less than two minutes left when he lost
the ball over the line.
Tries: Tom English (2), Jack Maddocks, Billy Meakes
Conversions: Quade Cooper (2)
Tries: Shannon Frizell, Sam Talakai, Jackson Hemopo
Conversions: Bryn Gatland, Marty Banks
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermain Ainsley, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Reece Hodge
15 Josh Ioane, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Josh McKay, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Jackson, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Patelesio Tomkinson, 23 Marty Banks