Rebels late-show sinks Reds
Brisbane - The Melbourne Rebels won their first-ever Super Rugby match over the Queensland Reds with a controversial last-minute penalty goal in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Reds lost their sixth straight match 30-27 after fullback Jason Woodward kicked a 79th-minute penalty off a red card incident.
Reds replacement forward Ed O'Donoghue was sent off following the intervention of the video referee for an incident with Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham.
Television replays appeared to show O'Donoghue running his fingers over Higginbotham's eyes as both players wrestled with each other on the ground.
Referee Steve Walsh took advice from the technical match official in the stands and sent O'Donoghue from the field and awarded the Rebels a penalty which Woodward converted.
Reds skipper James Horwill didn't mince his words after the game, saying his team was "robbed by a stupid refereeing decision."
The Reds may have also paid a high price for their sixth consecutive loss to go to the bottom of the Australian conference in their worst season since 2009.
Their Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper dislocated his left shoulder in a tackle in the eighth minute and initial reports are that he will miss between four to six weeks of rugby, putting him in doubt for the entire three-Test series against France at home next month.
The Rebels kept the ball alive and scored three tries with two of them to former Wallaby scrum-half Luke Burgess.
Burgess failed to finish the match, coming off near the end with a right knee injury.
Woodward finished with three penalties and three conversions from his seven attempts.
The Reds also scored three tries to Mike Harris, Greg Holmes and Ben Lucas with Harris kicking two conversions and two penalties and Cooper a conversion.
"Extremely happy with the effort from the boys, it was a tough forwards contest, but at the end of the day that's not the way you want to win a game, that's a bit disappointing, but we were overdue for a win," Higginbotham said.
"It was fantastic to get some attack from the boys, we have done a lot of defending over the last couple of weeks so it was nice to open up a bit."
Horwill was disconsolate after another defeat which has the 2011 Super Rugby champion Reds well out of contention to reach this season's play-offs.
"We had a dig, but in the end we felt a little bit short, we let a soft try in just after halftime which hurt us."