The Highlanders kick off the sixth round of Super Rugby 2017 in Dunedin where they will host Melbourne’s Rebels. The Highlanders have played the Rebels five times since 2011 and they have won all but one matches.
This will be the Rebels 15th trip to New Zealand and it’s not a place they are fond of visiting, winning only once in their previous 14 such games.
The teams are led onto the field by Aaron smith who wins his 100th Super Rugby game, the 135th player to do so.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
BEEP! Former All Black Glen Jackson gets us underway in Round 6.
2.00: The opening exchanges sees a bit of kicking and lock Steve Cummins is off for an HIA, Dominic Day is on.
3.00: PENALTY! Highlanders win a penalty at the breakdown from a lineout.
4.00: Cummins clashed with Luke Whitelock. From the lineout, the Rebels turn the ball over and have a scrum.
5.00: PENALTY! The home team win a scrum after Laurie Weeks is pinged for collapsing. Banks will take a shot from close range, on the left.
6.00: It’s good and Highlanders lead. News on Welshman Cummins is that the lock forward will not return. He’s failed the HIA which happened with a clash of heads with Whitelock and he will not return.
7.00: The reset kick is deep and it’s dropped forward by the attackers. The hosts have a scrum and they clear.
8.00: The Rebels lose the ball in midfield and Marty Banks kicks in behind the Rebels’ back three. Very sloppy from the visitors.
10.00: The ball is on the ground a lot. Highlanders attack inside the Aussies’ 22 but it’s a lineout to the Rebels after a player stepped into touch.
11.00: There’s already been 7 turnovers and three handling errors.
12.00: TRY! Malakai Fekitoa! Richard Buckman takes the ball wide to the advantage line, takes a tackle but offloads to his supporting centre partner, who on the angle, beats the cover defence and scores under the sticks. It all came from the scrum set-piece.
13.00: Banks adds the easy conversion and the hosts lead by 10, all coming from the scrum.
16.00: TRY! Luke Whitelock! The Highlanders come again, Buckman takes the ball up again and sets up another score. Tom Franklin takes the ball near the goal-line, throws a dummy and spins away, setting up the No 8 to score under the poles.
17.00: Banks slots the conversion.
19.00: It’s gone wrong for the visitors early on here. They look lethargic and can’t keep the ball. The scrum is all over the place and their lineout is sloppy.
21.00: The Rebels try to force their way through the defence of the Highlanders but give away a penalty instead. The hosts kick into touch at their own 10.
24.00: PENALTY BANKS! The first-five-eight kicks his second penalty and the home team has a 20 point lead. The Rebels are way too sloppy with ball in hand. Smith kicked forward and the referee blows for a penalty to the Highlanders; Rebels offside at the ruck.
28.00: Oh dear! Jordy Reid stands on the touchline and gifts the hosts possession inside the Rebels’ 22. It’s a calamitous opening half hour in Dunedin for the Australian team. They must still be on the plane.
29.00: They save the day with a good lineout. The highlanders using the kick behind the back three number at every opportunity and boy oh boy, the Rebels knock on and the home team have an attacking scrum.
31.00: The Highlanders’ wave after wave of attack, keep coming and are awarded a penalty for offside, who look like they will score at every opportunity. They opt for a scrum five metres out near the right-hand touchline.
34.00: Tevita Li takes the ball from Aaron Smith at first receiver but the Rebels win the breakdown and clear the pressure.
35.00: Highlanders are dominant, running from deep now but still going to the kick-chase when they should drive the ball more.
36.00: The Rebels win their seventh lineout but lose the ball forward. Scrum to the hosts inside the visitors’ 22.
38.00: Fekitoa loses the ball in contact and thus, releases the heat on the Rebels. The visitors are a minute from the break and they must not concede.
39.00: Garden-Bachop’s clearance is recovered by the Highlanders. They attack as the hooter sounds.
40.00: The Rebels turn the ball over and mount a counter-attack but they lose the ball, again, and they go into the halftime break down by 20 points to nil.
The halftime score was Highlanders 20 Rebels 0
The Rebels need to sort this out and fast. The home team have not even got out of first gear.
Ben Smith is happy: “We’ve played well and the forwards have done a great job.”
The Highlanders have spent 8 minutes 45 seconds inside the Rebels’ 22. Yes, you heard correctly. The visitors only 1 minute 43 seconds.
Coach tony Brown will be happy, his team has 75 percent possession and 60 percent territory to go with their commanding lead.
Not sure Rebels coach Tony McGahan, will be as happy.
BEEP! We are back underway in Dunedin.
42.00: Oh boy. Another mix-up. Liam Coltman helps win the penalty at the breakdown after Jackson Garden-Bachop slips inside his 22 trying to step his way out of trouble. Banks will line-up another shot at goal.
43.00: PENALTY KICK is good from Banks.
44.00: Reid loses the ball forward in a tackle after the reset and the hosts have a scrum around the half way.
45.00: Gardon-Bachop knocks the ball into touch and the Highlanders have a throw around the 22 of the Rebels.
47.00: The highlanders keep coming; every clearance is regathered and another wave of attacks surge over the Rebels.
49.00: Rebels win a penalty and kick to touch. Greg Pleasants-Tate and Daniel Lienert-Brown come on for Liam Coltman and Aki Seiuli. Rebels attack inside the Highlanders 22.
51.00: TRY! after seven phases the Rebels score through Tom English. The winger collects the ball and rounds the covering defence to score in the corner.
52.00: The conversion is missed but the visitors are on the scoreboard.
54.00: Some great D from the visitors, first Banks goes close, then Tom Franklin but they’re both held up on the goal line. They have the scrum on the 5.
55.00: Scrum reset.
56.00: The Highlanders lose the ball at the back of the scrum after Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock fail to control the ball. The Rebels kick but the hosts come back and look to have scored. We are going to the TMO for a grounding call.
57.00: TRY Richard Buckman! Buckman’s quick thinking and quick tap, sees the centre barge over from close range, bouncing off Fereti Sa’aga and Jordy Reid to score.
58.00: Banks makes no mistake with another easy conversion, his third.
59.00: Sione Tuipulotu and Reid are off for Lopeti Timani and Reece Hodge, who returns from a spell on the sideline.
60.00: Lineout on the hosts’ 10m. Tupou Sopoaga on for his debut for Dillon Hunt.
61.00: TRY Gareth Evans! The flanker takes a pass from Marty Banks, steps infield and beats the cover defence, running 25 metres to score. He beat Nic Stirzaker’s tackle after stepping inside Garden-Bachop.
63.00: Banks slots the conversion and is replaced by Fletcher Smith. Ben Volavola and Mick Snowden are on for the Rebels, replacing Jackson Garden-Bachop and captain Stirzaker.
65.00: Teihorangi Walden is on for Richard Buckman. another knock on by the Rebels, very sloppy.
69.00: The Highlanders have a lineout inside the visitors half.
71.00: TRY! Fekitoa gets a double! Aaron Smith kicks an up-and-under, Garden Bachop collects but throws an intercept. The centre beats Tom English’s covering tackle to score under the poles.
72.00: Banks slots the conversion. Game, well and truly over.
73.00: Kayne Hammington replaces Aaron Smith who was immense, again, in his 100th Super Rugby match. Well done sir!
75.00: The Rebels have an attacking scrum on the hosts’ 5.
77.00: TRY REECE HODGE! He takes the ball at the second attempt from Ben Volavola and scores in the corner after slipping a tackle from Patrick Osborne
78.00: He makes it from out wide, good kick.
79.00: TRY Greg Pleasants-Tate! The big man barges over from close range to complete the rout.
80.00: Fletcher Smith adds the two and brings up the fifty.
The final score is Highlanders 51 (20) Rebels 12 (0)
Tries – Fekitoa (2), Whitelock, Buckman, Evans, Pleasants-Tate
Pen – Banks (3)
Con – Banks (5), Fletcher Smith
Tries – English, Hodge
Con – Hodge
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Mabey
TMO: Aaron Paterson
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, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 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.
* Super Rugby debut
15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 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.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Ben Volavola