The Melbourne Rebels have beaten the Highlanders in a come-from-behind 38-37 win on Friday night to ensure their slim chances of claiming Super Rugby's wooden spoon are extinguished.
The Highlanders held a massive 31-7 lead at half-time but the Rebels produced a stunning second half, with Bryce Hegarty scoring the match-winning try in the final minute to steal victory.
Axed Wallaby James O'Connor came off the bench and gave the Rebels a taste of what they will be missing next season by throwing the final passes in three of five second-half tries.
The Highlanders ran in four first-half tries to seal a bonus point before the break. Jamie Joseph's southern side could mathematically still claim the wooden spoon, but in reality the bottom side, South African newbies the Southern Kings, would need a bonus point win at the Sharks in Durban as well as overcoming a negative 99 points difference to the Highlanders.