Super Rugby
Nightmare debut for Rebels
ESPNscrum Staff
February 18, 2011

The Rebels suffered a nightmare Super Rugby debut as they were hammered 43-0 by the Waratahs at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.

Fullback Kurtley Beale and winger Drew Mitchell both grabbed a brace of tries for the visitors with hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, centre Rob Horne and captain Phil Waugh also crossing to complete the rout. England international Danny Cipriani made his Super Rugby bow off the bench after just eight minutes due to an injury to Rebels playmaker James Hilgendorf but was unable to prevent the hosts from crashing to a demoralising loss.

Cipriani was off target with a first-half penalty attempt as the Rebels, who also had Wales No.8 Gareth Delve and ex-Bath flanker Michael Lipman among their ranks, were outmuscled and outplayed in every department having threatened to make a game of it in the opening exchanges.

After a bruising opening that saw opposing locks Kevin O'Neill and Dean Mumm sent to the sin-bin, Tahs centre Rob Horne and fullback Kurtley Beale combined for the first try. Fly-half Berrick Barnes and Mitchell then conjured the second with the winger getting on the end of an excellent cross-kick to give the Waratahs a 10-0 lead at the break.

But the floodgates opened following a yellow card for Rebels hooker Ged Robinson. The pressure soon told with hooker Polota-Nau crashing over before Mitchell carved through the defence for his second try. Beale soon had his second before Horne got in on the act by making the most of a huge overlap to touch down for his side's sixth try. Waugh capped an excellent display with the seventh try of the night to complete a harsh first lesson for the Rebels.

"I don't think you can ever go away from the fact that you're going to be judged on the scoreboard," Rebels boss Rod Macqueen said. "Obviously things didn't go to plan, there's no doubt about that. It was a bit disruptive with Jimmy going off so early. Our gameplan had to change with that.

"We paid the price for turning the ball over, they made us pay for all of our mistakes. We learnt a lot from it, there's no doubt about that.

"We know we've got to improve, what we've got to do. I suppose as coaches we can see light at the end of the tunnel...from the general public's perspective I hope we do it sooner rather than later."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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