Moment of madness spelt doom for Rebels
CAPE TOWN — It could have been such a different story.
The Rebels, enjoying a breakthrough season in Super Rugby, were clearly not in Cape Town to simply make up the numbers.
Matching the Stormers in most departments, Dom Shipperley had scored to hit straight back after Damian de Allende’s try, and as half time approached the visitors were just 13-7 down. But what happened next will surely be a contender for fail of the season. The hooter had gone, and the Rebels were in possession. When kicking it out seemed the only real option, the Australians thought it best to start an attack from 95 metres out. Hooker Pat Leafa inexplicably passed the ball to two-try hero Dillyn Leyds, and the home side was gifted five points out of nothing.
Even the Stormers’ first try came from a panicky Rebels pass that gave away possession, and captain Scott Higginbotham was left trying to figure out how it all went so wrong.
“The Stormers are a good side and they really showed that the way they stuck in. They played some great football off our errors,” Higginbotham said after the match, which has left his side with six wins and seven losses this season.
“That’s what’s disappointing. For us to have some silly individual errors like that is disappointing. But credit to the Stormers for playing some football off that.”
Coach Tony McGahan was diplomatic when discussing the moment of madness on the stroke of half time that went a long way towards sinking the Rebels. “You can’t control that. It was unfortunate, and we just lacked some composure there,” he said.
“We just needed to be a bit more clinical there. Get the ball down, maul it, kick it out and we go in at 13-7 and we’re probably not in a bad position.”
The Rebels are in Durban this week where they will take on the returning Sharks at King’s Park on Friday night.
“Our guys have been terrific. We’ll be back up next week and get stuck in just like we did tonight,” McGahan said.
The Rebels versus Sharks game kicks off is at 7.10 pm on Friday night.