DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 04: Kurt Baker of the Highlanders looks to beat the attempted tackle by Sean McMahon of the Rebels during the round eight Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium on April 4, 2014 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)

The Otago Highlanders kept alive their hopes of turning their season around when they held off the strong-finishing Melbourne Rebels to win a tight Super Rugby clash 33-30 in Dunedin on Friday.

Tries from flanker Shane Christie, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and fullback Ben Smith combined with 18 points from the almost unerring boot of flyhalf Lima Sopoaga earned a third victory from six matches this season.

Fullback Jason Woodward scored 20 of the visitors' points, including a converted try four minutes from time that gave the Rebels hopes of another comeback win to match their upset of the ACT Brumbies last weekend.

The Highlanders held firm, though, and, with the 80 minutes up even flirted with going for a fourth try to win the bonus point before Sopoaga kicked the ball high into the stands to bring an end to proceedings. – Reuters