Super Rugby
Rebels shock Brumbies with first win in Canberra
ESPN Staff
April 18, 2015
Report Match details
Date/Time: Apr 18, 2015, 19:40 local, 09:40 GMT
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Brumbies 8 - 13 Rebels
Half-time: 5 - 13
Tries: Speight
Pens: Leali'ifano
Tries: Naivalu
Cons: Harris
Pens: Harris 2
Sefanaia Naivalu of the Rebels goes over for a try, Brumbies v Rebels, Super Rugby, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, April 18, 2015
The Rebels shocked the Brumbies with some enterprising play
© Getty Images
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The Melbourne Rebels have registered their first Super Rugby win in Canberra, beating a decimated Brumbies 13-8 on Saturday night. Despite the rain and hostile 7,531 fans, the Rebels dominated proceedings at GIO Stadium for their second away victory this season.

For the Brumbies, the loss was their third in four matches.

While they remain Australian conference leaders, the NSW Waratahs are hot on their tails after their bonus-point victory over the ladder-leading Hurricanes in Wellington earlier in the day. With injuries forcing more than a dozen changes to their line-up, the Brumbies struggled against an organised Rebels outfit.

Brumbies 5-13 Rebels (video available in Australia only)

The visitors played to the wet weather, keeping the hosts pinned in their own half and being resolute in defence. They were first to get on the board, with Mike Harris scraping home a penalty goal almost 10 minutes in. Their 3-0 lead blew out to 10-0 moments later after Nick Stirzaker sliced through from a scrum and got a wide ball out to Sefanaia Naivalu who crossed. It ended an impressive streak for the Brumbies, who had scored the first try in all previous nine matches between the two sides.

The momentum continued Melbourne's way, the visitors awarded seven penalties to two in the opening half; the Brumbies had to wait nearly 32 minutes for their first. The Rebels were headed towards their second-ever first-half cleansheet in five seasons, until Henry Speight spoiled it after the siren. The outside centre dived over in the corner for his first five-pointer in 2015 on the back of some quick hands to head into the break 13-5 down after Christian Leal'iifano's conversion was slapped down.

Leali'ifano went on to add three points via a 63rd-minute penalty goal to reduce the deficit to 13-8, which remained unchanged. To add to the Brumbies' injury woes, a bloody-nosed Lausil Taliauli was taken off with apparent concussion 30 minutes into his first Super Rugby start and replaced by debutant Rodney Iona.

Coach Tony McGahan lauded the Rebels' scrum work, defence and discipline.

"It was a real kicking-tactical game, and for us to be able to play that sort of game against an experienced side like the Brumbies at their place and to come away and control it was pleasing," he said.

Brumbies boss Stephen Larkham said it was tough to come back from 10-0 in the slippery conditions and the Rebels' toughness in the maul.

"But I thought we fought our way back into the game quite well and certainly had our chance in that second half," he said. "We didn't give up at any stage ... but we didn't come away with it."

Larkham challenged a call late in the game, claiming his side deserved a try for an offside Scott Higginbotham tackling David Pocock just off the line.

"For mine, it was definitely going to be a try," he said. "It's frustrating, it's disappointing, but there's not a lot you can do about now, is there."


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