(Reuters) - Highlights of week 13 of Super Rugby:
Rebels’ inside centre Reece Hodge slotted a 79th minute penalty from a tight angle to lift them to a rousing away win over the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The Rebels came back from 24-10 behind with 20 minutes left, with fullback Jack Maddocks and debutant winger Semisi Tupou scoring tries to pull the visitors back into the game.
Hodge’s late penalty snapped a five-game losing streak for the Rebels, breathing new life into their campaign while all but ending the Brumbies’ (3-7) hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Second in the Australian conference, the Rebels are now only a point shy of the leading New South Wales Waratahs in the race to the post-season.
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The Highlanders held off a late charge by the Lions to extend their home winning streak to 11 matches and leave the South Africans still chasing their first victory over New Zealand opponents this season.
Lima Sopoaga, Liam Coltman, Luke Whitelock, Waisake Naholo and Teihorangi Walden scored tries for the Highlanders, who grabbed their seventh win for the season to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
Robbie Coetzee grabbed a try either side of halftime for the Lions, who pulled within six points when Elton Jantjies converted Marnus Schoeman’s 73rd minute try.
But Sopoaga slotted a penalty minutes later to snuff out the contest and then kicked another in the final seconds to finish with 19 points for the game.
The Crusaders came back from a 29-0 deficit five minutes before halftime to reel in the New South Wales Waratahs and extend New Zealand’s winning streak over Australia’s Super Rugby teams to 39 successive matches.
The Waratahs stunned the home side with four tries in the opening half-hour before the Crusaders stormed back with three tries before half time.
Replacement back Braydon Ennor crossed for the Crusaders early in the second half. The Waratahs’ scrum then disintegrated under pressure near the line to concede a penalty try and give the hosts the lead 12 minutes from the finish.
Flyhalf Bernard Foley missed a penalty kick with four minutes left that would have given the Waratahs the lead, and the Crusaders held on to claim the win.
The Sunwolves picked up their first win of the season on Saturday with a rousing 63-28 victory over the Queensland Reds in the Japanese capital.
In the final match to be held in Tokyo this season — the last two Sunwolves home games are in Hong Kong and Singapore — flyhalf Hayden Parker scored 36 points and winger Hosea Saumaki had a hat-trick of tries to lead their team to victory.
Tries from Parker and lock Grant Hattingh, as well as five penalties, gave the Sunwolves a 15-point lead at halftime and Jamie Joseph’s men did not relent after the break.
The Sunwolves piled on the points in the second half with three scores from Saumaki and a penalty try.
The red-hot Wellington Hurricanes recorded their ninth straight win with a bonus point victory over the Auckland Blues at Eden Park on Friday, extending the home side’s winless streak against New Zealand opposition to 16 matches.
Tries from hooker Ricky Riccitelli, loose forward Gareth Evans, fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder, lock Sam Lousi and centre Matt Proctor were enough to see off a spirited Blues challenge and send the Hurricanes to the top of the standings.
The Blues, who had tries from centre Orbyn Leger and prop Ofa Tuungafasi either side of halftime, played plenty of enterprising rugby but were unable to match the execution of the Hurricanes at key moments.
The Hurricanes lead the Canterbury Crusaders by three points in the New Zealand conference having played a match fewer than the reigning champions, who would be expected to return to the top after they play the New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday.
Editing by John O'Brien and Ken Ferris