The Highlanders have given the Sharks a lifeline when they beat the Rebels on Saturday with 43-37 at the end.
This means the Sharks just need to win later on Saturday to get into the playoffs.
The Rebels will be very disappointing as their last two games was just not good enough and they could have easily made their first playoffs in their short Super Rugby history.
The Highlanders who has also not had the best last few weeks got back to winning ways.
Tries from Waisake Naholo, Kayne Hammington, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Greg Pleasants-Tate and Tom Franklin proved too much for the Rebels, who scored through Amanaki Mafi and a Reece Hodge hat-trick.
It was penalties that separated the teams early on before the Rebels scored the first try.
The Rebels had the better after that and got their second try in the 18th minute which made the score 17-3 for them.
The Rebels then lost a Ruru to the bin for a tip tackle on Sopoaga which gave the Highlanders and opening.
Naholo was on the end of the Highlanders first try which Sopoaga converted.
It was not long after that that the Highlanders drew level Hummington going over.
The Rebels responded immediately with Hodge to take the lead again.
The Highlanders had the last points in the first half with Seiuli. That gave the Rebels a 24-22 lead going into the break.
Hodge got his third in the second half for the Rebels after a charge down to give them the lead 31-22
A penalty extended the lead to 34-22 after Hodge made it six out of six with the boot.
The Highlanders did not lie down and scored two quick tries through Li and leasants-Tate’s. That gave them a 36-34 lead.
The Highlanders got their sixth try through Franklin to take the game out of reach of the visitors.
A late Jack Debreczeni penalty did make things interesting but Naholo’s massive hit on Maddocks dislodged the ball and took matters out of the Rebels’ hands in their quest for the playoffs.
Tries: Naholo, Hammington, Walden, Li, Pleasants-Tate, Franklin
Cons: Sopoaga 5
Tries: Mafi, Hodge 3
Cons: Hodge 4
Pens: Hodge 2, Debreczeni
Yellow Card: Ruru
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