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Quade Cooper makes the difference.

Friday 1st of March, 2019, saw the Rebels take on the Highlanders for their first game at The Stockade for this Super Rugby season.

It was an inauspicious start, with the Highlanders over in the 2nd minute for an unconverted try thru Frizell. Despite the early setback, the Rebels looked happy with ball in hand and in the 8th minute Tom English was over in the corner and Quade Cooper sailed the conversion in from the sideline, over the black dot.

It was tit for tat penalties and a missed try by the sluggish looking Koroibete, before the fleet of foot Jack Maddocks went off of some Quade Cooper brilliance. Ten phases of positive rugby was topped off when Cooper took a high pass midair and in a continuous movement flicked the ball on for Maddocks to make full use of running a countering line to the sliding Highlander defence.

The 42nd minute saw another magical move, with the Rebels on the attack and probing the defences. It was Cooper again, this time receiving quick ball near the wing and with two Highlanders closing in on him, chipped thru an impossible gap, the ball rolling steadily towards the covering 5/8, before obligingly pulling up and popping up to the right into the approaching arms of a rampaging Meakes.

A Highlanders try in the 63rd minute setup a grandstand finish and it was only desperate defence and a well placed tackle hit, which affected a knock on and stopped the Highlanders crossing in the 78th minutes. The ensuing scrum lethagy ensured the Rebels held on for their first win over a NZ team at home in 4 years.

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