Melbourne Rebels defeat struggling Queensland Reds
The Melbourne Rebels have held on to defeat the struggling Queensland Reds 25-23 in their Round 3 Super Rugby fixture at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The home side dominated the first half however looked tired in the second as their recent road trips to Perth and Pretoria looked to be catching up with them.
The Reds, who sacked coach Richard Graham midweek, fought back in the second half and pushed the Rebels all the way but remain winless in 2016. The only consolation for the visitors is a bonus point for finishing within seven points of the Rebels.
The hosts opened the scoring in the fifth minute when fly-half Jack Debreczeni kicked a penalty goal after the Reds were adjudged to be offside.
It was 6-0 to the hosts just minutes later as the Rebels capitalised on another Reds’ error to extend their lead.
It wasn’t long until the Rebels scored the first try of the night. They moved the ball strongly through the midfield with 18-year-old debutant Sione Tuipulota crashing over the advantage line and scrum-half Ben Meehan put in a grubber kick that was touched down by fullback Jonah Placid.
The Rebels controlled the ball well through the opening half hour and made the most of the Reds errors, however could not add to the 16-0 score line.
A lot of the Rebels good work was undone six minutes from half time as the Reds scored a try against the run of play. Flanker Hendrik Tui broke through the defensive line and offloaded to a flying Nick Frisby who touched down under the posts to make it 16-7.
Red’s fly-half Jake McIntyre added three more points from a penalty in the 38th minute and the teams went the break with the score 16-10 in favour of the Rebels, however not reflecting their dominance over the visitors.
Both sides traded penalty blows in the opening minutes of the second half as the score moved on to 19-13.
The Rebels’ moved the ball promisingly once again but settled for another penalty as Debreczeni extended the lead to nine points.
The visitors then went on the attack thanks to a penalty conceded by the Rebels’ Jordy Reid. The lineout, following McIntyre’s kick into the corner, produced a rolling maul and run on debutant Andrew Ready touched down for the Reds’ second try of the night.
The Reds, now with all the momentum, continued to attack and were awarded a penalty from a Rebels’ scrum infringement. McIntyre kicked truly to give the winless Reds the lead for the first time on the night.
The Rebels set up a frantic final ten minutes as they regained the lead in the 69th minute from another Debreczeni penalty.
The hosts’ line was tested in the dying minutes as the Queenslanders had a number of phases with the try-line in sight. The Rebels defence held on and forced a knock on to secure the 25-23 win.