Super Rugby - Round 2
Rebels claim historic victory over Brumbies
ESPNscrum Staff
February 26, 2011
Sharks centre Meyer Bosman is wrestled to the floor, Sharks v Blues, Super Rugby, Kings Park Stadium, Durban, South Africa, February 26, 2011
Sharks centre Meyer Bosman is wrestled to the floor in his side's victory over the Blues in Durban © Getty Images

The Rebels bounced back from their opening round drubbing at the hands of the Waratahs to score a dramatic 25-24 victory over the Brumbies at the AAMI Stadium in Melbourne on Friday.

Hammered 43-0 in a nightmare competition debut just seven days ago, the Rebels bounced back with a determined defensive display to claim their first Super Rugby victory with fly-half Danny Cipriani capping an impressive performance with the match-winning penalty in the dying moments of the game.

A try from fullback Pat McCabe and the boot of fly-half Matt Giteau gave the Brumbies a 16-9 lead at the break with Cipriani keeping the Rebels in touch with three penalties. The English playmaker continued to chip away at the Brumbies' lead after the re-start but a Giteau drop goal kept them at arm's length. But the Rebels snatched the lead as the game entered the final ten minutes with a strong run and a speculative pass from winger Cooper Vuna putting centre Stirling Mortlock over for his side's first Super Rugby try.

Cipriani's conversion gave them a bit of breathing room but the Brumbies struck back almost immediately with Henry Speight crossing in the corner to silence the crowd and give his side a two-point lead. However, there was still time for one more dramatic twist with a debatable penalty handing Cipriani the chance to win the game and take his personal tally to 20 points.

But the Waratahs lead the Australian conference after racking up a record 30-6 victory over the Reds at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Drew Mitchell, David Dennis, Lachie Turner and Benn Robinson all crossed for tries to propel the hosts to their biggest ever win over the Reds.

Fullback Kurtley Beale and fly-half Berrick Barnes chipped in with the boot but it was an outstanding defensive display - led by man of the match Tatafu Polota-Nau that shackled the much-vaunted Reds and ensured the Waratahs notched their second bonus point win of the season following their dismantling of the Rebels last weekend. The Reds, looking for their second win of the season having accounted for the Force last time out, could only muster two Quade Cooper penalties.

The Bulls came from 15 points down to maintain their 100 percent start to the new season with a dramatic 25-23 victory over the Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Both sides crossed twice during the opening 40 minutes, with lock Bakkies Botha notching for the Bulls before the Cheetahs hit back through centre Andries Strauss. And it was the hosts who went in 11-8 up at the interval courtesy of fly-half Naas Olivier, who outscored his opposite number Morne Steyn by two penalties to one.

The Cheetahs then rocked the reigning champions with two tries in the space of six minutes at the start of the second half, through outside centre Robert Ebersohn and replacement Ashley Johnson. However, Danie Rossouw touched down shortly after being sprung from the bench before scrum-half Fourie du Preez spun his way over the whitewash with just four minutes to go, after a terrific pass off the deck from Flip van der Merwe. Steyn then held his nerve superbly to nail the resulting conversion attempt to nick it for the Bulls.

The Sharks are also two from two after they followed up their opening-round win over the Cheetahs with a 26-12 defeat of the Blues at the Kings Park Stadium in Durban.

Patrick Lambie was the star of the show for the hosts, the recently-capped Springbok fly-half contributing a try, two conversions and four penalties in a 19-point haul. JP Pietersen scored the Sharks' other try. The Blues, meanwhile, managed just four penalties by way of response, with Stephen Brett landing three in the first half before his replacement, Luke McAlister, added another in the final quarter.

Lambie's try arrived after less than three minutes of play, the youngster getting on the end of his own grubber kick in behind the Blues defence to open the scoring in fine style. He converted and then added a penalty to put ten points between the sides. Some decent goal-kicking kept the Blues in touch but the Sharks sealed a deserved win with seven minutes to go when Jacques-Louis Potgieter intercepted and put Pietersen away to score.

The Lions came up short for the second successive weekend as they suffered an agonising 19-16 defeat to the Stormers at Newlands in Cape Town.

After coming so close to completing a remarkable comeback against the Bulls in Johannesburg last weekend, the Lions suffered the heartbreak of blowing a seven-point lead in the closing stages of their clash with the Stormers.

Despite scoring the only try of the first half through outside centre Waylon Murray, the Lions found themselves a point down at the break, with fly-half Gary van Aswegen having landed three penalties for the hosts. However, Springbok fly-half Elton Jantjies edged the visitors in front with a penalty before fullback Jaco Taute blazed over to put the Lions 16-9 ahead with just over 20 minutes to play. However, Peter Grant then responded with a penalty before Pieter Louw touched down on 74 minutes for a try which nicked it for the Stormers.

The Highlanders maintained their winning start to this year's competition with a 23-13 victory over the Chiefs at Carisbrook. Mike Delany crossed for the game's first try after 25 minutes after some good work from Liam Messam and Mils Muliaina in creating the break. Delany sliced through the last line of defence to touch down near the posts. He converted to give the Chiefs a 13-6 lead which they held to the changeover.

The Highlanders came out strongly in the second half, rewarded for some constant pressure on the Chiefs line when No.8 Nasi Manu took the quick tap, caught the defence flat-footed, and powered over the line. Robbie Robinson, on after Sopoaga suffered a shoulder injury, added the extras and the home team drew level three minutes into the second stanza. Things looked even brighter for the Highlanders with 20 minutes to go after Kerr-Barlow was yellow carded for deliberately slowing the ball. Robinson slotted the penalty to give the Highlanders a narrow lead, which they extended in the 74th minute when the ball was moved wide and at pace for winger Kade Poki to score. With Robinson's accurate boot adding the conversion, the Highlanders looked assured holding on for the win, racking up their second win from as many matches.

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