Super Rugby

Rebels beat Highlanders in Melbourne



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The Rebels have played the Highlanders seven times in Super Rugby since the Melbourne side joined the tournament in 2011.

The Melbourne Rebels have won one of those matches against the New Zealanders.

  • The Highlanders’ only defeat to the Melbourne outfit was in July 2013.
  • The Rebels come into this match having opened their season with a victory for the sixth time in the last seven years, losing only their first match of 2017.
  • Otago has won 14 of their last 16 regular season games against Australian opposition, including each of their last three in a row.
  • Aaron Mauger’s side has made the joint most clean breaks (28, level with the Brumbies) and gained the most metres of any side (1005).
  • Jermaine Ainsley (Rebels) has conceded five penalties already in Super Rugby 2019; only NSW Waratahs’ Sekope Kepu (6) has conceded more.
  • Waisake Naholo is the Highlanders all-time leading try-scorer with 40.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Australia at AAMI Park, Melbourne where it is 32 degrees Celsius in the early evening.

3.00: TRY! Quade Cooper is bounced by Waisake Naholo on the wing. Bryn Gatland’s sends a cross-kick wide; it is caught and finished by Shannon Frizell, who scores his fourth Super Rugby try in three games of the season. 0-5

4.00: MISS! Bryn Gatland cannot add the extras. 0-5

7.00: Naholo races away for a ‘supporters’ try’ but it is chalked off by the referee for offsides against the Highlanders. The Aussies take a scrum.

9.00: TRY! Will Genia goes blind, Dane Haylett-Petty holds off a defender and puts Tom English away. 5-all

11.00: CONVERSION! Cooper’s sideline kick is good. 7-5

14.00: Genia clears the danger with a big kick down the field.

16.00: Five-man lineout for the Highlanders, who go to the back and are rumbling forward into the opposition’s 22. They’re near the goal line. The ball is sent wide to Josh McKay, who is over in the corner.

17.00: NO TRY! McKay’s score is chalked off because his foot was in touch after Haylett-Petty’s tackle. The winger is ruled to also not had control in grounding. We go back for a penalty against Genia.

18.00: TRY! No bother, it’s the second try of Siate Tokolahi’s career. 

18.00: CONVERSION! Gatland makes no mistake with the kick. 7-12

21.00: The first-quarter belongs to the visitors. The Rebels have a chance after winning a penalty. Cooper kicks to the Otago 22.

23.00: The Rebels are bashing their way forward, metre by metre.

24.00: Marika Koroibete is tackled by Gatland, losing the ball as he reached for the try line.

25.00: Kayne Hammington breaks blind, but the scrumhalf is isolated, giving away a penalty because his forwards were back at the scrum. The Rebels come again.

26.00: TRY! Jack Maddocks is on the scoresheet after some Cooper magic in midfield to put the wing away. The Rebels went 12 phases, pulling the Highlanders left to right and back again before the stand-off’s no-look offload did for the Kiwis. 12-all

27.00: CONVERSION! Cooper makes no mistake. 14-12

29.00: This game has an average of 71 points and nine tries per game in its short history.

30.00: TRY! English ghosts through a gap taking Billy Meakes’ inside ball after some good work by the forwards. 19-12

34.00: Maddocks almost breaks through a half-gap from a poor Highlanders lineout. Scrum to the hosts, five metres out and to the left of the posts.

36.00: Genia throws a forward pass, killing an attack, however, the ball is won back.

39.00: Highlanders under pressure inside their 22. Koroibete busts through a couple of tackles, but loses the ball in contact.

41.00: Cooper kicks the ball into the crowd to end the half.

The halftime score was Rebels 19 Highlanders 12

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Melbourne.

43.00: TRY! Meakes collects Cooper’s little grubber after the ball bounces unkindly for Gatland, on the goal line and dots down. The centre celebrates with some dance floor moves to the delight of coach Dave Wessels. 24-12

44.00: MISS! Cooper’s kick is unsuccessful. 24-12

47.00: Josh Ioane’s pass to his namesake is high and McKay stands on the chalk, killing a promising Otago attack.

48.00: The Highlanders have started to make the changes. The last 20 minutes will be crucial in Melbourne because the Kiwis left Dunedin in 11-degree weather and it is hot out there.

51.00: The changes have led to some reset scrums, but that is no excuse for a part of the game that has been an issue for a generation.

52.00: Free-kick to the Rebels after the third scrum-reset collapses.

54.00: Cliché ALERT! Koroibete has been in thick of it. He has carried well, but lost possession a few times, conceding penalties along the way. He is a beast, though and is dangerous in the outside channel.

56.00: BIG HITS! Adam Coleman is dishing up some big chunks of “have a bit o’ that!” since he came on.

59.00: Not many win the kicking battle with Marty Banks, however, on this occasion the ball wins as it rolls over the dead-ball line.

60.00: The Aussies are kicking away possession far too much; they give away another penalty at the penalty, relieving the pressure on the Kiwis.

63.00: Mauger’s men are still searching for a second-half score. They need one soon because time is running out.

64.00: TRY! They DO get a try! It’s Jackson Hemopo with a pick-and-drive from close range that gives the visitors a sniff going into the last quarter of an hour. 24-17

65.00: CONVERSION! Gatland reduces the deficit to five. 24-19

67.00: MISS! Reece Hodge misses a 49-metre penalty; he had the distance but not the direction. 24-19

68.00: Genia is down holding his calf after launching a bomb. It looks like cramp.

69.00: The momentum is shifting in favour of the visitors. They win a penalty and kick to the corner.

70.00: Sam Talakai saves the Rebels with some flanker-like work at the breakdown. Rebels clear the danger.

73.00: BIG SCRUM from the Australians. The Highlanders get out of jail, but they are held up in the maul and lose the turnover. Scrum to the Aussies.

75.00: Penalty to the hosts after another massive scrum; the new tight five is dominating late in the game.

76.00: Koroibete saves the day with some superb work on his goal line. The Rebels were on an attack inside the opposition’s 22, but a stray pass was picked up and hacked forward by the New Zealanders. The ball is cleared to the Rebels’ 22.

77.00: The hosts are under the pump.

79.00: NO TRY! The Rebels are holding on; the Highlanders go 18-phases before winning a penalty on the try line. The Kiwis take it quickly and look to have scored. TMO is being called upon and he sees that Michael Ruru knocked the ball out of an attacker’s hand.

80.00: The Rebels take a long time to set up the scrum. The hooter goes five seconds early, but no matter. The ref holds out his arm for advantage, but Ruru doesn’t need it, kicking the ball into touch for a famous victory.


In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.

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The final score is Rebels 24 (19) Highlanders 19 (12)


Tries – English (2), Maddocks, Meakes
Pen –
Con – Cooper (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Frizell, Tokolahi, Hemopo
Pen –
Con – Gatland (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Damon Murphy
TMO: Ian Smith


Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 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.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Reece Hodge

Highlanders: 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.

Replacements: 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

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