Melbourne Rebels claimed a deserved 34-23 win over the Blues in their bottom-of-the-table clash at AAMI Stadium on Thursday.
The Rebels registered a deserved 34-23 win over the Blues in their bottom-of-the-table clash at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne on Thursday.
It was easy to see why these teams are struggling this season as the match was not a great spectacle and characterised by several errors.
After James O'Connor and Gareth Anscombe traded early penalties, the match came alive in the eleventh minute when Kurtley Beale intercepted a wayward pass from a Blues player close to his try-line and ran the full length of the field before scoring the opening try of the match.
That was the only try of the opening half as O'Connor and Anscombe added more penalties but the match was still evenly poised at half-time with the Rebels leading 11-9.
The visitors were first out of the blocks after the break, when Rudi Wulf got their opening try in the 43rd minute. This after latching onto a pass from Rene Ranger close to the touchline. Anscombe converted, but the Blues failed to capitalise on their lead.
The Auckland-based side were guilty of several indiscretions and O'Connor succeeded with two further penalties midway through the half which restored his side's lead.
The inside centre – who eventually scored 24 points in the match – added a try to his tally in the 65th minuter after replacement hooker Ged Robinson did well, in the build-up, by winning a crucial turnover inside the Blues' 22 before getting his pass away to O'Connor.
After landing the conversion the Wallaby added another penalty in the 72nd minute but the Blues kept their faint chances of winning alive when Chris Lowrey scored their second try from a scrum close to the home side's try-line.
However, the Rebels were not done yet and their captain Gareth Delve capped a fine performance when he scored in injury-time under a mass of bodies.
The win means that the Rebels have moved up to tenth position in the standings while the Blues – who were amongst the favourites to win the title at the start of the competition – are now firmly rooted at the bottom of the table.
Tries: Beale, O'Connor, Delve
Cons: O'Connor 2
Pens: O'Connor 5
Tries: Wulf, Lowry
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 3
Rebels: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Mark Gerrard, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 Julian Huxley, 22 Lloyd Johansson.
Blues: 15 Rudi Wulf, 14 Lachie Munro, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Brad Mika, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Chris Lowrey, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)