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Highlanders show why they are defending Super Rugby champions with Melbourne win

Super Rugby champions the Highlanders hammered the Melbourne Rebels 27-3 at AAMI Park on Saturday.

The visitors were 13-0 up at the break, thanks to Rob Thompson's 21st-minute try - converted by Lima Sopoaga - and two Sopoaga penalties.

The hosts troubled the scoreboard operators for the first and only time six minutes after the restart when Jack Debreczeni slotted a penalty, but it was one-way traffic thereafter.

Jack Wilson and Patrick Osborne crossed for further tries - Sopoaga adding the extras on both occasions - as the Highlanders romped home with a bonus point and climbed to second place in the New Zealand Conference.

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