Reds rout rabble Rebels to go back top
A two-try haul by rampaging prop Taniela Tupou has helped the Queensland Reds to an impressive 44-19 win over Melbourne Rebels, reclaiming the top spot on the Super Rugby AU ladder.
The Brumbies moved ahead after their thrilling win against the NSW Waratahs on Friday, but it was short-lived with the unbeaten Reds regaining the competition lead after Saturday’s victory.
The Rebels did themselves no favours with two of the Reds’ six-try haul scored from intercepted passes.
Tupou’s first try came off a maul in the third minute and Tongan Thor was in again in the 17th minute after James O’Connor split the defence and found the 135kg Wallabies prop on the charge.
With centre Hunter Paisami intercepting a Reece Hodge pass and racing 80 metres to touch down, the Reds were out to a 24-0 lead after just 18 minutes.
The shell-shocked Rebels finally got some ball to claw their way back into the match thanks to Frank Lomani, with the Fijian Test scrumhalf playing on the wing.
He ran a superb line to benefit from a perfectly-timed Matt Toomua pass and then six minutes later made a break and was able to offload to Hodge.
The centre was chased hard by Queensland fullback Bryce Hegarty but managed to slam the ball over the line and the Rebels were back in the hunt – trailing just 14-24 at half-time.
But a second intercepted pass, this time thrown by Toomua, hurt the home side.
Wing Jock Campbell snaffled the pass and flank Fraser McReight dived across in the ensuing play, while Campbell then extended the margin himself in the 63rd minute.
Melbourne No.8 Michael Wells got a well-earned five-pointer soon after but the Reds remained in full control, even adding a late try to reserve back Josh Flook.
After spending the week on the road due to COVID-19 restrictions Queensland will return home to host the Brumbies next Saturday night.
For the Melbourne Rebels
Tries: Lomani, Hodge, Wells
Cons: To’omua 2
For the Reds
Tries: Tupou 2, Paisami, McReight, Campbell, Flook
Cons: O’Connor 4
Pens: O’Connor 2
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Tom Pincus, 14 Frank Lomani, 13 Stacey Ili, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Joshua Kemeny, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cabous Eloff.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Albert Anae, 19 Tom Nowlan, 20 Robert Leota, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Lewis Holland, 23 Jeral Skelton.
Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Richie Asiata, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Seru Uru, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Josh Flook, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Referee Amy Perrett