Cape Town - A strong second half performance saw the Rebels beat the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby clash in Melbourne on Friday.
As it happened: Rebels 36-14 Cheetahs
The home side were full value for their 36-14 win and outscored the Cheetahs five tries to two with a five-pointer from Tamati Ellison securing their bonus-point shortly before full-time.
The men from Bloemfontein came into this match with plenty of confidence after posting 90 points against the Sunwolves last weekend and they tried to continue where they left off in that match by giving the ball plenty of air.
That tactic proved fruitful during the first half, but the Rebels soaked up the early pressure and took control of proceedings after the break and scored 26 unanswered points during that period.
The victory moves the Rebels provisionally into first place in the Australian Conference, although the Brumbies can move above them if they beat the Crusaders in Canberra on Sunday.
The Cheetahs made the brighter start and their early dominance was rewarded in the 15th minute when Torsten van Jaarsveld got over for the opening try, after the visitors launched a lineout drive deep inside the Rebels' 22.
The Rebels didn't wait long to respond though and struck back with an impressive try from Reece Hodge, who exploited a gap on the edge of the Cheetahs' 22 and beat four defenders before dotting down.
Despite that setback, the Cheetahs continued to attack and they were rewarded on the half-hour mark when Clayton Blommetjies scored in the right-hand corner after Raymond Rhule had set up the score with an outstanding 50-metre break.
The Rebels narrowed the gap via a Debreczeni penalty in the 35th minute meant the visitors led 14-10 at the interval.
The Rebels were quickest out of the blocks in the second half and took the lead 51 seconds after the restart when Lopeti Timani barged over from close quarters.
The match was evenly poised for the next 20 minutes but the home side extended their lead on the hour-mark when, after winning a turnover close to the Cheetahs' 10-metre line, Jonah Placid rounded off after running onto a pass from Cam Crawford.
Despite that setback, the Cheetahs continued to attack but, in doing so, they were caught out in defence.
Hodge sealed the Rebels' win with his second try, in the 70th minute, after a brilliant break from close to the halfway line before Ellison secured the bonus point after intercepting a wayward Cheetahs pass and ran in under the posts.
Tries: Reece Hodge (2), Lopeti Timani, Jonah Placid, Tamati Ellison
Conversions: Jack Debreczeni (4)
Tries: Torsten Van Jaarsveld, Clayton Blommetjies
Conversions: Niel Marais (2)
15. Jonah Placid, 14. Cam Crawford, 13. Reece Hodge, 12. Tamati Ellison, 11. Sefanaia Naivalu, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 9. Nick Stirzaker (captain), 8. Adam Thomson, 7. Sean McMahon, 6. Jordy Reid, 5. Lopeti Timani, 4. Luke Jones, 3. Laurie Weeks, 2. James Hanson, 1. Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16. Pat Leafa, 17. Cruze Ah-Nau, 18. Jamie Hagan, 19. Sam Jeffries, 20. Colby Faingaa, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Daniel Hawkins, 23. Kotaro Matsushima
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Segeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (captain), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Oupa Mohoje, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga