Ben Smith (52), Aaron Smith (20), Shane Christie (14)
Lima Sopoaga (64,47,32,10)
Lima Sopoaga (54,21,16)


Jason Woodward (76), Angus Roberts (43), Scott Fuglistaller (6)
Jason Woodward (58,37,18)
Jason Woodward (77,45,7)

Full Time
Highlanders 33 Rebels 30

The Highlanders are awarded a penalty and attack close to the Rebels' try-line. They can't breach the visitors' defence, however, and Sopoaga boots the ball into touch! That's the final act of this match and the hosts are deserved winners. Credit to the Rebels, however, as they certainly gave their all in a bid for victory.

CONVERSION, REBELS, WOODWARD! 33-30. Woodward adds the difficult two-pointer which narrows the gap to three points!

TRY, REBELS, WOODWARD! 33-28. The Rebels attack from a line-out and the ball comes out to the backs. Ellison draws in a defender before offloading to Woodward. who shrugs off a defender before crossing over in the corner!

The Rebels are awarded a penalty and Higginbotham takes it quickly. He throws a long pass to Tamati Ellison close to the Highlanders' try-line which Kurt Baker tries to intercept but knocks on!

The Rebels are on the attack deep inside the hosts' 22! Leafa spots a gap and makes a dash for the line but is held up just short of the whitewash.

Pat Leafa's game goes from bad to worse as he is penalised for an off-the-ball shoulder charge on Gareth Evans. Sopoaga kicks for touch but the ball is not out and the Rebels launch a counter-attack

This time it's the Highlanders front row that are pinged for an indiscretion at a scrum and Woodward's kick sails out midway between the Highlanders' 22 and the halfway line.

The Rebels front row are penalised for illegal scrummaging and Sopoaga puts the kic kout 10 metres from the visitors' 22-metre line.

PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 33-23. Sopoaga succeeeds with another penalty after Mitch Inman is penalised for straying offside.

Sopoaga has another shot at goal, from the kicking tee, but his effort hits an upright! There's panic Rebels ranks as they fail to deal with the bouncing ball. Buckamn closes in but luckily for the visitors Stirzaker gathers and dots down behind his try-line!

PENALTY, REBELS, WOODWARD. 30-23. Woodward adds another three-pointer after Shaun Treeby is pinged for a ruck infringement.

Pat Leafa is on as a replacement for Shota Horie but his first act is a crooked throw-in on the Highlanders' 22-metre line! Not a nice way to make your introduction.

CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 30-20. Sopoaga adds another two-pointer to restore the home side's 10-point lead!

TRY, HIGHLANDERS, B SMITH! 28-20. The Highlanders are awarded a penalty, close to the Rebels' try-line, and Aaron Smith plays quickly and the hosts' forwards has a crack at the line. The ball is then recycled before Sopoaga throws a long pass to Ben Smith who scores in the left-hand corner!

Fuglistaller is pinged for playing the ball in a scrum. Sopoaga kicks for touch and puts the ball out on the Rebels' five-metre line.

Stirzaker gathers a loose ball, at a line-out inside his 22, and weaves his way past three players before offloading to Higginbotham, who is in the clear! He is called back by referee Chris Pollock, however, who rules that Stirzaker''s pass was forward.

PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 23-20. Sopoaga lands an easy three-pointer after the Highlanders are pinged for being offside.

CONVERSION, REBELS, WOODWARD! 20-20. Woodward lands a difficult spot-kick from close to the touchline to draw his side level!

TRY, REBELS, ROBERTS! 20-18. Higginbotham intercepts a wayward Highlanders pass and sets off towards the try-line. Sopoaga hauls him in but Higginbotham puts a kick ahead which Roberts gathers before touching down!

Sean MacMahon is very lucky to still be on the field after executing a tip tackle on Aaron Smith. The Highlanders are awarded a penalty which Sopoaga puts out 10 metres inside the Rebels' 22.

Woodward gets the second half underway with a deep hanging kick which Nasi Manu gathers. He sets off on a run before setting up a ruck just outside his 22.

Half Time
Rebels 20 Highlanders 13

Sopaga gets a chance to restore his side''s 10-point lead but his effort, from about 40 metres out, is just wide of the mark. That''s also the final act of the half as the referee blows his whistle to indicate half-time. It''s been an entertaining affair with the Highlanders deserving their lead as they made most of the attacking during that half. The Rebels are not out of it though and an interesting second half awaits.

PENALTY, REBELS, WOODWARD. 20-13. Woodward narrows the gap to seven points after King is blown up for illegal scrummaging.

Scott Higginbotham gathers at the back of a scrum, inside the Highlanders' 22, and offloads to Stirzaker, who sets off on a run. He makes some progress but is soon brought to ground by Gareth Evans.

PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA. 20-10. Sopoaga gives the hosts a 10-point lead after the Rebels are penalised for illegal scrummaging.

The Highlanders attack from a scrum on the Rebels' 10-metre line. Sopoaga stabs a grubber kick through which Fekitoa gathers, on the edge of the visitors' 22! He offloads to Aaron Smith who knocks on.

The Highlanders are pinged for being offside at a ruck and Roberts kicks for touch. He fails to put the ball out and Smith returns his kick with interest and puts the ball out just inside the Rebels' half.

The Highlanders are on the attack, just outside the Rebels' 22, and Ben Smith throws a long pass to Kurt Baker. He sets off down the touchline but is brought to ground by a text-book tackle from Male Sau.

Buckman is penalised for playing Tamati Ellison in the air and Woodward takes a shot at goal from about 45 metres out. His effort is short of the target, however.

CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 17-10. Sopoaga maintains his perfect goal-kicking record as he adds another two-pointer.

TRY, HIGHLANDERS, A SMITH! 15-10. Aaron Smith gathers the ball at a ruck 10 metres from the Rebels' try-line and side-steps two players before scoring the hosts' second try!

PENALTY, REBELS, WOODWARD! 10-10. Woodward draws his side level after Ben Smith is pinged for holding onto the ball on the ground.

CONVERSION, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 10-7. Sopoaga lands a difficult place-kick from close to the touchline to extends the hoem side's lead!

TRY, HIGHLANDERS, CHRISTIE! 8-7. The Highlanders are awarded a penalty and Aaron Smith plays qickly. He passes to Sopoaga, who offloads to Malakai Fekitoa, who is stopped just short of the line. Shane Christie is the first man there and gathers from Fekitoa before burrowing his way over the line!

The Highlanders have just launched an attack from deep inside their 22 and the ball goes through several pairs of hands until Aaron Smith rounds off! The referee checks on the final pass from Buckman but the TMO rules that it was forward.

PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SOPOAGA! 3-7. Lima Sopoaga narrows the gap to four points after the Rebels are penalised for straying offside.

CONVERSION, REBELS, WOODWARD. 0-7. Jason Woodward steps up and slots and adds the two-pointer to extend the visitors' lead.

TRY, REBELS, FUGLISTALLER! 0-5. The Rebels are showing great promise on attack and take the ball through several phases. They are soon inside the Highlanders' 22 when Nic Stirzaker makes a break! He offloads to Scott Fuglistaller who slides in over the try-line!

Chris King is pinged for illegal scrummaging. Roberts kicks for touch and puts the ball out midway between the halfway line and the Highlanders' 22.

There's some concern as Bryce Hegarty stays down after coming off second best in an aerial challenge with Richard Buckman. Hegarty is receiving medical attention and is soon taken off to have a concussion test. He is replaced by Angus Roberts.

Kick Off
And we're off! Lima Sopoaga gets the game underway with a deep kick which Bryce Hegarty gathers. He offloads to Tom English, who sets up a ruck on the edge of his 22.

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has made four changes to his starting XV. Colby Fainga'a has failed to recover from a hip injury and will be replaced in the back row by Sean McMahon, while Tom Kingston continues to follow concussion protocols and was not be considered for selection. Japanese International Male Sau replaces Kingston on the right wing, with Jordy Reid and Alex Rokobaro injected into the matchday squad as reserves for the first time in 2014. In the two other changes, Shota Horie is named for his first start of the season with Pat Leafa reverted to the reserves bench, while prop Toby Smith returns from a head knock to start in the front row, with Max Lahiff dropping out of the squad.

There are four changes to the Highlanders starting XV that lost to the Blues last weekend. In the backs, Shaun Treeby comes in at inside centre with Phil Burleigh sitting out the match due to a shoulder injury. Kurt Baker replacing Patrick Osborne on the left wing is the only other change to the backline. In the forwards, Kane Hames will sit out a one week suspension meaning the in-form loosehead prop has been replaced by Chris King, with Ma'afu Fia named at tighthead. Gareth Evans also returns to the starting line-up at blindside flanker in place of Elliot Dixon who moves to the bench.

Hello and welcome to the Forsyth Barr Stadium for this Super Rugby hit out between the Highlanders and the Melbourne Rebels. We'll be back soon with team news.

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