The Melbourne Rebels fought back to beat the Brumbies 29-26, overturning a 16-point first-half deficit at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Jack Maddocks grabbed another brace but it was Will Genia’s performance and some hard running (and finishing) by Marika Koroibete that inspired the comeback.
The Brumbies‘ forwards dominated the first half winning a penalty try and scoring through Folau Fainga’a, both from driving mauls.
Fainga’a became the first Brumbies’ forward to score four tries in consecutive matches for the ACT franchise when he flopped over the whitewash following another destructive driving maul, in the first half.
Henry Speight added to the Rebels’ woes as the hosts had Matt Philip and Matt Gibbon yellow carded before the break.
It was as bad as it could get for the home team buckling under the pressure of the Brumbies’ pack and their own ill-discipline.
Genia leads by example
Whatever Dave Wessels said at the break, it worked. The South African-born coach sent his team out early after the dismal first 40 minutes.
They proceeded to score four tries as Genia took the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring once and setting up Maddocks’ second.
The scrumhalf, who scored his 20th Super Rugby try, was apoplectic with his forwards after they squandered a rare chance to score a try before the interval.
The Rebels came out of the gate, led by their skipper, Koroibete and the mercurial Quade Cooper to stun their fellow countrymen with a clinical, high-tempo second half display, rocking David Pocock and Co.
More to follow…
Final Score: Rebels 29 (3) Brumbies 26 (19)
Tries – Koroibete, Maddocks (2), Genia
Pen – Cooper
Con – Cooper (3)
Cards – Philip (Yellow, 33′), Gibbon (Yellow, 42′)
Tries – Speight, Fainga’a, Penalty try, Valetini
Con – Lealiifano (2)
1. Matt Gibbon,2. Robbie Abel,3. Sam Talakai,4. Matt Philip,5. Adam Coleman,6. Rob Leota,7. Brad Wilkin,8. Isi Naisarani,9. Will Genia,10. Quade Cooper,11. Marika Koroibete,12. Billy Meakes,13. Tom English,14. Jack Maddocks,15. Dane Haylett-Petty
Replacments : 16. Anaru Rangi,17. Tetera Faulkner,18. Jermaine Ainsley,19. Luke Jones,20. Ross Haylett-Petty,21. Richard Hardwick,22. Michael Ruru,23 Reece Hodge
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Tom Wright, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Tom Cusack, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements :16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Chance Peni
Match Officials and details
Date : Friday 8 March
Venue : AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick Off local: 19:45
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2:Graham Cooper
TMO : Ian Smith