Rebels suffer record loss to Sharks
March 24, 2013
Ryan Kankowski produced a powerful performance against the Rebels
© Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels have suffered a record Super Rugby drubbing with the Sharks running in 10 tries in a 64-7 bloodbath in Durban.
The Rebels flew to South Africa confident of cracking their first ever win abroad but instead were embarrassed by the rampant Sharks. Their previous biggest defeat was 53-3 at the hands of Queensland in March 2011.
The home side had only managed three tries in three rounds leading into the match but eclipsed that in the 34th minute when skipper Keegan Daniel charged across the line for try number four.
Compounding the misery for the Rebels, star playmaker James O'Connor was yellow-carded in the second half for a lifting tackle which could face further scrutiny.
The proud home side was shocked last week when the Brumbies ran in four first-half tries in their 29-10 victory and made their intentions clear from kick-off.
Melbourne skipper Gareth Delve was penalised at the breakdown in the first minute of play although Pat Lambie missed the kick.
The Sharks didn't have to wait long though with points on the board in the sixth minute. Following a Rebels handling error, Daniel made a break from the back of the scrum and the Sharks swarmed, with fullback Louis Ludik touching down.
The Rebels had no answers against the Sharks (video available only in Australia)%]
Two tries came after the Sharks pack drove across the line following a line-out, with the Rebels unable to stop the dominance of their big forwards.
They were out to 24-0 by the halftime break thanks to Daniel's own try, with credit going to the Sharks who didn't miss a tackle in that 40 minutes. The Rebels in contrast had missed seven, with 10 turnovers and a 10-5 penalty count giving coach Damien Hill some miserable reading.
The second half couldn't have started any worse for Melbourne. Hooker Kyle Cooper scored in the 41st minute, followed by tries in the 44th, 47th and 50th which brought the tally to 50-0.
The scoreboard ticked over for a further two tries, with Ludik getting his second followed by Riaan Viljoen, who brought up No.10 for the first time in Sharks history.
Delve was held up over the line in the 63rd minute before Scott Higginbotham finally opened the Rebels' account in the 68th minute after halfback Nick Phipps took a quick tap and passed on to the Wallaby backrower.
Delve described the loss as a "kick in the teeth".
"We need to go away and look at ourselves," Delve said. "There's not many positives we can take from, but we need to go away and pick through the bones and make sure we finish the tour on a high."
The Rebels next face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.