Highlanders run riot in Smith's landmark appearance

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Malakai Fekitoa scored a try in each half as Highlanders thrashed Rebels 51-12 in Aaron Smith's 100th Super Rugby game on Friday.

Highlanders had to come from behind to beat Brumbies last Saturday, easing to victory at a canter six days later in Dunedin against a Rebels side that has now lost five in a row.

New Zealand scrum-half Smith pulled the strings in his landmark appearance as Tony Brown's men put on a show despite the absence of injured captain Ben Smith, running in six tries at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Rebels made far too many sloppy errors in the first half and were somewhat fortunate to only trail 20-0 at the break after Fekitoa powered his way over and Luke Whitelock took a lovely offload from Tom Franklin to go under the posts.

Richard Buckman and Gareth Evans also got in on the act with five-pointers after the break as Rebels continued to be guilty of basic errors, while centre Fekitoa helped himself to a double with a late intercept try.

Tom English and Reece Hodge came up with consolation tries for Rebels, but they were blown away and Marty Banks' 19-point haul with the boot ensured Highlanders racked up a half-century as they coasted to a third win in four games.