Rebels must now wait on Sharks match after Highlanders win

Annette Crawford
July 17, 2018

He spent yesterday in the custody of Dunedin police after being arrested for allegedly assaulting teammate and Wallabies lock Lopeti Timani.

The Lions, the losing finalist for the last two seasons, will host the Jaguares after clinching top spot in the South African conference with a 38-12 home win over the Bulls early Sunday (AEST).

The Jaguares have also qualified for the playoffs but the Sharks could take the last quarterfinal place from the Rebels if they beat the Jaguares in Durban.

Regardless of the outcome for the Rebels, few could doubt the commitment of five-eighth Hodge, who scored 29 points including three of his team's four tries.

A Rebels bonus point means the Brumbies' slim finals hopes have ended.

"We only won one game last year and we've won seven this time and we're pushing the best teams in the comp a lot closer than we did last year".

Melbourne opened a helter-skelter first half, with tries to Amanaki Mafi and Hodge to be 17-3 up, although they lost prop Fereti Sa'aga to injury.

Waisake Naholo and Kayne Hammington both capitalised on the one-man advantage with tries to level the scores before Reece Hodge bagged the first of his two charge-down tries.

Hooker Akker van der Merwe and winger Kobus van Wyk scored tries as the Sharks pipped the Melbourne Rebels for the final playoff berth and set up a match in Canterbury next weekend.

After a try to Highlanders center Tei Walden the Rebels went to halftime with a 24-22 lead.

"I think we just didn't play footy for the full 80 minutes", Rebels captain Tom English said.

They led 34-22 entering the final quarter, but the Highlanders finished strongly with second-half tries to Tevita Li, Greg Pleasants-Tate and Tom Franklin to secure the win.

Bridge joined the Hurricanes' Ben Lam and the New South Wales Waratahs' Taqele Naiyaravoro as the leading tryscorers in the regular season.

The Sharks will play away to the defending champions and overall ladder leader and New Zealand conference winners the Crusaders.

"Both players remain in New Zealand with Mafi now in police custody following an altercation between the two players".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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