The Melbourne Rebels thrashed the Sunwolves 42-15, scoring six tries in the rout at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Reece Hodge scored a hat-trick as well as putting Quade Cooper away for the standoff’s 26th Super Rugby after Billy Meakes crossed.
Will Genia scored late in the game after Semisi Masirewa’s early second-half try brought the Japanese side back in the game at 28-15.
The bonus-point win is the Rebels’ fifth win from seven games and extends their lead at the top of the Australian Conference.
Cooper, the heartbeat of the Rebels, became the 11th player in Super Rugby to pass 900 points when he converted Meakes’ try.
Masirewa grabbed a brace, but the Sunwolves were off the pace on a night where their set-pieces were a mess.
The visitors lost their first four lineouts (three inside the Rebels’ 22) and their first scrum.
The Australians made them pay, opening up a 20-point halftime lead, which was insurmountable.
The second half was a slog
Hodge dotted down for his third after charging down Josh Timu’s clearance to go back on top of Melbourne’s try-scoring charts overtaking Tom English.
Masirewa crossed for his fifth try in two games straight after the interval. It was another masterful piece of finishing by the Fijian flyer.
Genia, again superb, crossed for his second try of the campaign after a wonderful linebreak to bring up 40 points with 12 minutes remaining.
Melbourne remains unbeaten against the Sunwolves in Super Rugby after their fourth win in this fixture.
Final Score: Rebels 42 (28) Sunwolves 15 (8)
Tries – Hodge (3), Meakes, Cooper, Genia
Con – Cooper (6)
Cards – Tupou (Yellow, 75′), Magnay (Yellow, 81′)
Tries – Masirewa (2)
Pen – Parker
Con – Parker
Cards – Vella (Yellow, 77′)
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell (captain), 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 Semisi Tupou.
15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Hendrick Tui, 7 Dan Pryor (captain), 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Grant Hattingh, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Takuya Yamasawa, 23 Josh Timu.
Match Officials and details
Date : Saturday 6 April
Venue : AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1:AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2:Marius van der Westhuizen
TMO : Ian Smith