Horwill off as Rebels edge Reds

Date published: April 3 2015

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The Rebels picked up their first home win of the Super Rugby season on Friday as they beat a 14-man Reds side 23-15 in Melbourne.

James Horwill was the man given his marching orders for the second time this year after his swinging arm at a ruck made contact with Paul Alo-Emile.

Horwill's team-mates performing admirably in his absence but could not hold out the Rebels for an hour in a win that takes the hosts provisionally to ninth spot.

The sending off came when the Reds were 3-12 up after a positive opening that saw them cross on two occasions, via the aforementioned lock and also number eight Jake Schatz going over. Quade Cooper kicked the first but missed the latter conversion as the Reds came out well and promised plenty.

In between those Reds scores was a Mike Harris penalty for the Rebels when impressive openside flanker Liam Gill was penalised at ruck time.

But then came the moment of madness from Wallaby second-row Horwill as he saw red for a swinging arm. Referee Matt O'Brien went to the letter of the law and had little option but to send the lock off and with his exit opened the door to the home side.

They struck just two minutes after Horwill had departed on 22 minutes, Harris' kick to the corner leading to the impressive Lopeti Timani barging over from the back of a driving maul. Harris put the Rebels just two points off their local rivals with three quarters of the game remaining.

It was now as case of turning the screw from a Rebels point of view but they could not manage it leading up to the half-hour mark and in fact it was the Reds who scored next when Gill pounced on opposing flanker Sean McMahon at the ruck. Cooper successfully landed the three for 10-15.

That fired the Rebels to life again and sustained pressure in the Reds 22 led to Tamati Ellison's smart line behind the ruck sending over his wing Tom English in the right corner. Harris couldn't land the conversion from the touchline but that was no disgrace with the scores now locked up.

The same might not have been said of Reds fly-half Cooper, however, as his two missed penalty attempts before the break – his second striking the post from a simple position – meant the scoreline was 15-15 heading into the dressing rooms. The Reds should have been in front.

Surprisingly the Rebels wouldn't go ahead until late in the game as they were greedy in the red zone on 48 minutes, with a kickable three points snubbed in favour of the scrum. That backfired when captain Scott Higginbotham was caught and turned over by Genia and the eager Reds.

Seven minutes later the Rebels thought they were over when replacement Jordy Reid dotted down after good work from wing Sefanaia Naivalu. But O'Brien decided an earlier pass was forward, despite a different opinion from the television match official, George Ayoub. The Reds survived.

But their hopes would be all but dashed on 66 minutes when a counter-attack led to Naivalu cutting inside off his left wing before a superb offload to the supporting Nic Stirzaker saw him dive over. Fortunately for the Reds, Harris was unsuccessful off the tee so it was only 20-15.

However, Harris would put the Rebels out of the one-score zone with three points on 71 minutes after Reds centre Anthony Fainga’a was caught offside and from that point the result looked to be going only one way, with the contest finishing comfortably for the hosts in the Reds' 22.

The scorers:

For Rebels:
Tries: Timani, English, Stirzaker
Con: Harris
Pens: Harris 2

For Reds:
Tries: Horwill, Schatz
Con: Cooper
Pen: Cooper
Red Card: Horwill

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Tom English, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Jordy Reid, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Reds: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Ben Daley, 17 Saia Fainga’a, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Chris Kuridrani, 23 Karmichael Hunt.

Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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