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.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Naholo, Hammington, Walden, Li, Pleasants-Tate, Franklin
Cons: Sopoaga 5
Pen: Sopoaga

For Rebels:
Tries: Mafi, Hodge 3
Cons: Hodge 4
Pens: Hodge 2, Debreczeni
Yellow Card: Ruru


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  1. 3 kiwi teams sit way out on top in positions 1, 2 and 3. Pretty amazing what such a small country can do

  2. Careful Cab, you are going to have the kiwi-hater DavidS insulting you again.You are right though, it just shows you what can be achieved with a professional approach from junior to national levels, top-level coaching and no political interference.

  3. Bunny, Sharks might not be seeing it as a favour to have to go and take on the Crusaders in Christchurch. I will be there once again sitting on the fence wh en it it comes to which side I want to win.

  4. @cab:

    Yep a bit of a joke that the Hurricanes and Chiefs have to meet each other rather than their lower ranked counter-parts. The sooner the conference system is scrapped the better. Being ‘entitled’ to a play-off round is almost as ludicrous as being ‘entitled’ to a position in the team.

  5. True but the travel still favours oz and nz so I don’t think it’s completely fair . But I think SA should learn to win despite the handicap. Maybe also the tournament should be played once every 2 years, as it’s taking its toll.

  6. @cab:

    Boo hoo… you don’t see the Argies making any such claims not to mention the Kiwi’s winning in South Africa more often than not.

  7. Boo hoo maybe , but still a handicap.

    Bet Ozzie be crying big croc tears if situation reversed. Pompom like whingeing big-time.

  8. @cab: although there is a fair degree of validity to the claim, the argies just won 4 from 4 down under and they have a worse schedule than any of our teams. So that throws that out the door

  9. Totally agree Aldo – that is what we should be aiming for. Think stormers got 4 from 4 v nz teams away a year or two ago. SA teams should aim for it.

  10. @cab:

    Not sure what Stormer’s team you are talking about? Last season they only played a grand total of 3 away games downunder and got a 20pt plus drubbing in all three. The season before I don’t remember them even meeting a single Kiwi side home or away until they got a 60 point drubbing at Newlands by the Chiefs in the play-offs. But I agree the Jaguares have shown that the ‘travel handicap’ is just another vehicle for defeatist excuses and it is not good enough.

  11. Maybe it was the Lions – I think there are a few teams that’s have done a clean sweep of kiwis away.

  12. @bryce_in_oz:

    I think Cab may be thinking of the Stormers team of 2010. They were the first SA team to beat all the NZ teams in the Super competition for that year.

  13. @Craven:

    Not away though where they lost all their games against the Aussies from memory… so not a real good example but that was a year of not travel excuses, a round robin and no gifting of play-offs. Ironically another year Mitchell could not buy a single win the entire season and of course another deserving title from the Bulls.

  14. @bryce_in_oz: Traveling east has near-ZERO jetlag impact mate. Going to that f-up place down under for 2 x 2 week stints is a nightmare at best of times – to then also play professional athletes in mortal combat is impossible!

  15. @Aldo: Indeed a set of weird results (and completely against any betting forecast) – I would not be surprised if a few refs and players had massive bank balance increases post those games…

  16. @Bekke:

    You mean West but yet the Argies had zero problem winning all their games going to that ‘f-up place’ down-under (interesting adjective) this year… nor do they complain having to travel 7hr East for every South African game. But now the conversation is going in circles.

  17. @bryce_in_oz:

    Jip, Bulls and Stormers ended first and second on the combined log (no silly conferences), won their semi’s and played in the final. Both teams won more than half of their games in Aus/NZ.

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