Highlanders scrum half Aaron Smith celebrates with try-scoring full-back Ben Smith.
Highlanders scrum half Aaron Smith celebrates with try-scoring full-back Ben Smith. Teaukura Moetaua - Getty Images

Highlanders puncture Rebels' defence

MELBOURNE coach Damien Hill praised the Rebels' defence despite them conceding seven tries in a 43-12 Super Rugby beating by the Highlanders in Invercargill on Friday.

It was a fourth loss in five games for the Rebels, who have lost all five of their offshore games since being admitted to the competition last year.

The Rebels dared to build on a promising start, leading 9-0 and 12-7 in the first half, following four penalties from as many attempts to five-eighth James O'Connor.

But the Highlanders' relentless multi-phase play wore down the Rebels, especially in a 14-minute period either side of the break, in which they scored four tries and 24 points.

Sparked by a hat-trick of tries to talismanic flanker Adam Thomson and two to incisive full-back Ben Smith, the home team scored the last 36 points to complete its fifth win from six games to go top of the New Zealand conference and the overall standings.

Read the full match report at ABC news online.



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