The All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson grabbed a hat-trick as the Otago Highlanders ran in seven tries in a ruthless 43-12 dismantling of the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match at Invercargill on Friday night.
The blindside crossed on both wings in four minutes around halftime to allow the Highlanders to break free of the Rebels and he sealed the rout by trundling over the line for his third try eight minutes from time.
Fullback Ben Smith also grabbed two tries either side of the break as the Highlanders got back to winning ways with a bonus point victory after a surprise defeat at the hands of the ACT Brumbies last week ended their perfect start to the season.
The Rebels, who tasted victory for the first time this season last week, led for most of the opening half but ultimately their lack of possession allied to the superior power and pace of the Highlanders proved too much.
Thomson says the team was disappointed last week in Canberra and says it was good to respond with a convincing win.