Gutsy Rebels stage stunning comeback to beat Brumbies
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Melbourne Rebels staged a stunning second-half comeback to beat the Brumbies 29-26 in Melbourne on Friday.
It was the Rebels’ second win over the Brumbies this season and they remain unbeaten after four rounds of competition.
Young Wallabies wing Jack Maddocks scored two tries among their haul of four in the second half as the home side pegged back a 3-19 half-time deficit.
His second try in the 70th minute, touching down after a long ball from Quade Cooper, gave them the lead for the first time in the match.
It came after the Rebels pounded the tryline for 10 phases and then took a quick tap for the star flyhalf to find his man.
The Rebels turned in a shocker in the opening 40 minutes, with both lock Adam Coleman and prop Matt Gibbon yellow-carded; the latter handing the Brumbies a penalty try after the half-time siren.
While they benefited from a 3-10 penalty count, the Brumbies also deserved the lead as they didn’t allow the Rebels’ star-studded backline to find any rhythm.
Playing his first match since a Round One hip injury, wing Henry Speight opened the scoring in the 18th minute when he managed to find the line despite the best efforts of Marika Koroibete.
Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a also barrelled across from the back of a maul to help set up a commanding lead.
But the Rebels came out a different side in the second half and after a long ball from Quade Cooper, Koroibete muscled his way over.
They cut the lead to four points when Maddocks scored his first try of the night, which was converted by Cooper.
The Brumbies extendedd their lead again after a 60th minute try to exciting young flanker Rob Valetini but the home side had too much finishing power.
In vintage form, scrumhalf Will Genia darted over from the back of the scrum before Maddocks’ match-winner.
Man of the match: Will Genia was outstanding in the second half and played a big role in his team’s fightback.
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For Melbourne Rebels:
Tries: Koroibete, Maddocks 2, Genia,
Cons: Cooper 3
Tries: Speight, Fainga’a, Penalty Try, Valetini
Cons: Lealiifano 2
Yellow cards: Adam Coleman (Melbourne Rebels, 33 – repeated infringements, offside); Matt Gibbon (Melbourne Rebels, 40 – cynical play in the maul)
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Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Rob Leota, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Reece Hodge.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Tom Wright, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Tom Cusack, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Chance Peni.
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)
AAP & @rugby365com