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Fri 14 Jun 2019 | 07:56

More questions than answers after Rebels' implosion

More questions than answers after Rebels' implosion
Fri 14 Jun 2019 | 07:56
More questions than answers after Rebels' implosion
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REACTION: “How did we fall into such a big hole?”

A question posed by head coach Dave Wessels after the Melbourne Rebels blown their chance to play Super Rugby finals with a humiliating 59-8 loss to the Chiefs in their last round clash at AAMI Park.

The Rebels only needed to win to finish in the top eight and secure a maiden play-off spot but their season ended in embarrassing fashion with the team delivering their worst performance of the year.

READ: REPORT: Rebels v Chiefs

“It’s devastating,” said Melbourne coach Dave Wessels.

“Losing the game itself – and in the fashion we did – wasn’t great but it’s really just been a symptom of the last couple of weeks.”

While the scoreline didn’t top last week’s 66-0 loss to the reigning champion Crusaders, it hurt more with the match one the Rebels fancied their chances of winning.

It was the second straight year that Melbourne wrecked their finals hopes with a last round defeat, with conference winners the Brumbies the only Australian side advancing.

It was a painful outcome for a team who looked comfortably on course for the post-season but lost seven of their last nine matches.

Wessels said there would be an intense review of the capitulation of their season after a promising start.

“We started the season like a house on fire and we should have qualified and had a home-semi locked a long time ago and the reason that we haven’t is probably concerning me the most.

“How did we fall into such a big hole?”

The Chiefs’ bonus-point win meant the Waikato side remained alive in the finals hunt, with their spot to be determined by other results over the weekend.

With former Rebel Jack Debreczeni at flyhalf, the Chiefs made the most of their opportunities with their first two tries coming off ineffectual Quade Cooper kicks.

Debreczeni collected one kick inside the 22 and ran through a hole with the Chiefs support players combining before skipper Sam Cane sealed the deal.

Their second try came after Cooper attempted to stab the ball through but it was charged down by centre Shaun Stevenson who galloped to the line for the first of his three tries.

The visitors delivered a killer blow after the halftime hooter when a loose pass by Reece Hodge was scooped up by Stevenson and he off-loaded to Lachlan Boshier for a 21-3 scoreline.

Melbourne’s hopes weren’t helped by losing Marika Koroibete in the 10th minute when the Test wing was knocked out cold while trying to tackle Stevenson.

Their chances of mounting a second-half challenge were crushed early when the Chiefs crossed after two minutes through wing Sean Wainui.

The floodgates then opened with centre Anton Lienert-Brown, who was one of his team’s best, scoring amongst his team’s haul of nine.

Melbourne’s solitary try was scored by hard-working lock Matt Philip but the home crowd had to wait until the 67th minute to have anything to cheer about.

Source: AAP

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More Questions Than Answers After Rebels' Implosion | Rugby365