Highlanders 22-28 Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium
Melbourne Rebels returned back to winning ways as they edged out Highlanders 22-28 in the fifth round of the Super Rugby clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday.
This is Rebels' second win from five games as they move to the second place in the Australian Conference while Highlanders are at the bottom of the New Zealand group.
Bill Meakes kick started the proceedings with an eighth minute try as he sped past three defenders to score and Matt Toomua followed with the conversion to make it 0-7.
The Rebels doubled their tally when Anaru Rangi dotted down at the back of a line out drive in the 13th minute and just as the first quarter came to an end, Andrew Kellaway also went over the line. Toomua kicked all the conversions as the visitors increased their lead to 0-21.
Highlanders were desperate for a breakthrough and they finally managed one as Josh McKay touched down in the 24th minute and they narrowed down the gap to seven points with Aaron Smith's try at the stroke of half-time.
Rebels were the quickest to get off the block in the 52nd minute when Kellaway intercepted a long pass from Smith to score that was improved by Toomua to make it 14-28 but Scott Gregory's try in the 63rd minute brought the gap between the two teams to nine points.
An aerial offence in the 65th minute saw Gregory sin-binned for the host and three minutes later Rebels were reduced to 14-men temporarily with Meakes yellow-carded. A penalty kick from Josh Ioane made the scoreline 22-28 but Highlanders could not find any more breakthrough as they lost Jona Nareki to yellow card by the 78th minute.