The Rebels threw away a 10-point lead to play to a scrappy 18-18 extra-time draw against the Reds in Melbourne on Friday, DYLAN JACK reports.
The result – which saw the very first period of extra-time in Super Rugby AU – was fair on the balance of the match.
The contest was a largely uninspiring, dull affair where both sides struggled to build any sort of meaningful phases and struggled for any consistency at scrums and lineouts. Even though there was pre-match rain at AAMI Park, it still doesn’t excuse the litany of handling errors and uncompleted set-pieces that was served up by both teams.
The Rebels, who were looking to bounce back from their opening round defeat to the Brumbies, will be kicking themselves though. The home side led 18-8 going into the final 10 minutes after Billy Meakes scored an intercept try off a poor pass James O’Connor. However, O’Connor atoned for his error as he narrowed the scores with a penalty before playing a role in setting up Alex Mafi to score a try, which saw the game go into extra time.
As they had done throughout the match, the Reds turned to their scrum – boosted by another excellent performance by tighthead prop Taniela Tupou- and it paid dividends as they won a penalty on the halfway line in the first period of extra time. Bryce Hegarty stepped up to take it, but his kick was wide of the mark.
The Rebels applied the pressure in the second period – which devolved into a game of kicking tennis as both sides fought for territory. After over 100 minutes were played, Hegarty decided to hoof the ball into touch and accept the draw, with the Reds under pressure in their own 22-metre area.
Rebels – Tries: Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes. Conversion: Matt To’omua. Penalties: To’omua (2).
Reds – Try: Filipo Daugunu, Alex Mafi. Conversion: James O’Connor. Penalties: James O’Connor (2)
Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Subs: 16 Efitusi Maafu, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Trevor Hosea, 20 Esei Haangana, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Reece Hodge.
Reds – 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (c), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Harry Hoopert.
Subs: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 23 Josh Flook.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images