Rebels score shock win over Brumbies
March 28, 2014
The Rebels shocked the Brumbies and have ended their three-game losing streak
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The Melbourne Rebels have tossed out the form book to upset the high-flying Brumbies 32-24 in their Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park. The Rebels went into the match on the back of three losses while the Brumbies had won four on the trot.
But the high stakes of their winning run took its toll on the visitors, who paid dearly for a poor 10-minute period midway through the second half. The Brumbies saw their 17-12 lead evaporate as fullback Jason Woodward put on a superb show of strength and speed to beat four defenders and touch down in the 59th minute, which he then converted from the sideline.
Melbourne should have extended that a minute later but winger Tom English lost the ball as he dived across the tryline. The Rebels continued to attack and Brumbies lock Scott Fardy was yellow-carded for obstruction, with Woodward again successful with the penalty strike.
Melbourne's second try came through hard-running centre Mitch Inman in the 69th minute. A late try by speedster Robbie Coleman got his side back in the hunt but then another Woodward brought his personal tally for the match to 27 points - including six penalties - to seal the win.
The Brumbies had got off to a flying start, with fullback Jesse Mogg scoring in the second minute and they dominated the early exchanges. Up until the 20th minute the Brumbies had 87 per cent of territory and 69 per cent of possession.
Melbourne Rebels ended the Brumbies winning streak 32-24
But the Rebels showed off their vastly improved defence and worked their way back into the game to hold their opponents to a 10-3 halftime lead. The margin could have been even less when Melbourne opted for a lineout just metres from the tryline following a penalty.
But the buzzer went as the ball was kicked with referee Jaco Peyper calling halftime to the surprise of the home side. In the end it didn't matter as they celebrated their first win over the Brumbies since 2011.
Brumbies coaching director Laurie Fisher said his team didn't get enough points from their glut of early possession. He paid tribute to the Rebels, who were hungry for a win.
"I think you've to give more credit to the opposition," Fisher said. "We only got one try out of it and that's probably due to the Rebels' defence as well as some poor execution on our part." He said the Rebels had plenty to play for.
"When you see your season slipping away, good sides and well-coached sides like the Rebels aren't just going to step aside and say they've had enough. They clawed their way back into the game."
Rebels coach Tony McGahan believed his team had earned their win through their hard work off the field. "I'm really delighted for the players," he said. "It was good to see them get some transfer onto the scoreboard."
He made mention of Woodward's contribution, particularly his 100 per cent goal-kicking. "It was first-class, wasn't it. Jason's an exceptional athlete and he's got some very good rugby skills. He gets a bit excited at times, and we need to get some consistency in that but I thought he came in with a really clear head and backed himself."