Melbourne - The Melbourne Rebels claimed a record-breaking 45-19 victory
over the Reds in their Super Rugby opener at AAMI Park on
The Rebels, featuring a number of new impressive signings, made
history by scoring seven tries - beating their previous record of six in
a single game.
In the 10th minute the course of the game changed when Scott
Higginbotham, the 25th captain of the Reds in Super Rugby, was
red-carded for a high tackle with force to the head and this ultimately
swayed the odds in the Rebels' favour.
However, despite their numerical disadvantage, the Reds dominated the
early exchanges and were rewarded with a try. Samu Kerevi got a routine
offload away in midfield that the Rebels thought had gone forward.
Duncan Paia’aua couldn't believe his luck as he had an open run to the
line with the Rebels guilty of not playing to the whistle.
Soon after, Lukhan Tui was sent to the sin-bin for his tip-tackle on
Will Genia as the Reds went down to thirteen men for ten minutes.
The Rebels eventually capitalised on their numerical advantage when
Caleb Timu's pass over the top found Sefa Naivalu on the overlap who ran
in for his first try of the season. Jack Debreczeni knocked it over
from in front to level matters on the scoreboard.
But the Reds just would not give up. Chris Feauai-Sautia made a
busting run in midfield and produced a silky offload for Kerevi whose
fine support running was rewarded as he got on the scoresheet.
Soon after, Genia's long pass exposed the 13-man Rebels on the left
overlap as this time Tom English crashed over to once again restore
parity on the scoreboard.
By this point the Rebels had well and truly wrested control of the
game and soon Naivalu grabbed his brace to give the hosts the lead.
Earning the right to go wide by sucking in the Reds defenders, Jaco
Maddocks showed good vision to throw a nice, long ball out to the flying
wing who had another routine dot-down in the corner.
Soon after, the Rebels had their fourth. Sucking in defenders with a
rolling maul, Genia went left and used the quick hands of Reece Hodge
and English to get the ball out to Dane Haylett-Petty who scored on his
debut for his new side on the stroke of half-time as the hosts took a
26-14 lead in to the interval.
After the break the Rebels continued to mount the pressure with some
powerful carries up the centre of the field. Debreczeni shifted his
position as first receiver from the open to blindside quickly. Genia
quickly found him and the fly-half broke the line to go over on the left
side, making it 31-14.
Some silly play from the Reds then saw them leaking their sixth try
as Pauiauia's careless no-look pass was intercepted by Dane
Haylett-Petty who ran coast to coast and dot down for his second.
The Rebels put the gloss on the evening when Debreczeni joined the
party, also grabbing a brace and his side's record-breaking seventh,
with Genia once again the provider as the Wallabies scrum-half made it
three try assists for the evening.
The Reds scored a consolation try through Feauai-Sautia, who finished
clinically after good work by full-back Toua to break the line and find
the winger with a long, spinning pass.
In next weekend’s action, the Reds host the Brumbies in Brisbane (Friday, March 2), while the Rebels are away to the Sunwolves in Singapore (Saturday, March 3).
Tries: Sefanaia Naivalu (2), Tom English, Dane Haylett-Petty (2), Jack Debreczeni (2)
Conversions: Debreczeni (5)
Tries: Duncan Paia’aua, Samu Kerevi, Chris Feauai-Sautia
Conversions: James Tuttle (2)
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Semisi Tupou, 23 Billy Meakes
15 Aidan Toua, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Filipo Daugunu