Highlanders score win over Rebels

Friday March 31, 2017

The Highlanders have scored a 51-12 victory over the Melbourne Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday.

The hosts celebrated scrumhalf Aaron Smith’s 100th Super Rugby appearance with a six-try-to-two victory, including a double from Malakai Fekitoa.

The Rebels injury toll continued with lock Steve Cummins substituted in just the second minute.

The Highlanders hit the scoreboard first through the boot of fly-half Marty Banks before Fekitoa couldn’t be stopped from close range to give the hosts a 10-0 lead in the 12th minute.

The hosts added a second try five minutes later when Tom Franklin spun and offloaded to put number eight Sam Whitelock through a gap and under the posts to give the Highlanders a 17-0 lead.

After the Highlanders dominated early possession and territory, the Rebels fought back with some gritty defence to hold the hosts scoreless for the final 17 minutes of the half to go into the break down 20-0.

Post-Game Reaction
Tony McGahan, Melbourne Rebels head coach

On the result:

“The Highlanders were clinical in what they did. They came and kicked really well, were really strong defensively, played really good field position, put us under immense pressure on both sides of the ball and really strangled us in the end.”

On the disruption of a concussion to lock Steve Cummins in the first minute of the game:

“It was about the first 20 seconds in the first or second tackle of the game but that’s the way it goes. I think Dom Day to come in after a good six months out and to play 79 minutes was a fantastic effort.”

On the Highlanders capitalising on the Rebels errors:

“You could probably go through all their tries and most of them originated from us with the ball. We contributed a lot to that. To be fair, their pressure was excellent, they strangled, competed and really tore into us.”​

News Source: Melbourne Rebels