The Rebels stayed on top of the Australian conference with a 30-24 victory over the Reds in Melbourne on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The result took the home side four points clear in their conference, keeping them in first place for the time being. The Brumbies can unseat Dave Wessels’ side, should they claim a bonus-point victory over the Sunwolves on Sunday morning.
The Rebels went 14-11 up at half-time thanks to tries from Marika Koroibete and Anaru Rangi, punishing another ill-disciplined performance from the Reds, who lost Scott Higginbotham and Sefa Naivalu to yellow cards in the first half.
However, the visitors managed to keep themselves in the match thanks to two penalties from Bryce Hegarty and a try from replacement Isaac Lucas.
The Rebels took just four minutes to extend their lead in the second half, when loosehead prop Tetera Faulkner applied the finishing touches to a break from Reece Hodge. Another linebreak from Hodge then led to a try for captain Dane Haylett-Petty as the hosts started to take control of the match.
The Reds again hit back as replacement prop Harry Hoopert went over from a driving maul, before Hegarty and Hodge traded penalties to make it a six-point game in the final ten minutes.
A late penalty from Hodge ensured a Rebels’ victory with just a minute on the clock, but Hegarty slotted his fourth penalty after the hooter to allow the Reds to escape with a losing bonus point.
Rebels – Tries: Marika Koroibete, Anaru Rangi, Tetera Faulkner, Dane Haylett-Petty. Conversions: Quade Cooper (2). Penalties: Reece Hodge (2)
Reds –Tries: Isaac Lucas, Harry Hoopert. Conversion: Bryce Hegarty. Penalties: Hegarty (4)
Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Subs: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Pone Fa’amausili, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Campbell Magnay.
Reds – 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (c), 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Subs: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Isaac Lucas.