Hodge hat-trick gets Rebels over the line
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Fullback Reece Hodge scored a hat-trick as the Rebels eased past the Sunwolves, winning 42-15 in Brisbane on Saturday.
The game had plenty of energy and entertainment, but also some spiteful undertones – with three players, two from the Rebels, ending up in the sin bin.
The Rebels outscored the Sunwolves by six tries to two.
The win extended the Melbourne-based franchise’s lead at the top of the Australian conference.
The six-try bonus-point victory means the Rebels are now more than a win clear of their nearest rivals, the NSW Waratahs – who fell to the Blues earlier in Auckland.
Fullback Hodge scored two tries in the opening 16 minutes, with Billy Meakes and Quade Cooper also chipping in to push the lead to 28-8 by half-time.
The men from Tokyo kept themselves in the hunt with big wing Semisi Masirewa continuing his five-star form with the first of his two tries for the match.
His 31st minute try came when he got on the outside of Rebels wing Jack Maddocks however Sunwolves sharpshooter Hayden Parker missed the conversion, ending his consecutive run of goals at 28 this season.
Masirewa was back across the tryline just two minutes into the second half when he beat Maddocks, Meakes, and Will Genia with Parker making no mistake this time.
The Rebels were unable to shake the visitors until the 61st minute, when Hodge charged down a clearing kick by Josh Timu and dived on the ball before it could roll dead.
Wallabies scrumhalf Genia then wound back the clock when he raced through a gap off the back of a line-out and scooted 50 metres to touch down, before heading to the bench to watch his team run out the win.
Both sides finished the match with less than the full complement as discipline wavered.
Rebels replacement wing Semisi Tupou was sin-binned for not retiring 10 metres, as the Sunwolves took a quick tap, then visiting hooker Nathan Vella joined him for foul play.
Melbourne back Campbell Magnay was also yellow carded in injury time for an illegal tackle.
For the Rebels:
Tries: Hodge 3, Meakes, Cooper, Genia
Cons: Cooper 6
For the Sunwolves:
Tries: Masirewa 2
Yellow cards: Semisi Tupou (Rebels, 74 – cynical foul, not retreating 10 metres), Nathan Vella (Sunwolves, 76 – foul play, dangerous clean-out at ruck), Campbell Magnay (Rebels, 80 – foul play, late tackle)
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 Semisi Tupou.
Sunwolves: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Hendrick Tui, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Grant Hattingh, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Takuya Yamasawa, 23 Josh Timu.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)