Planet Rugby

Rebels off to solid start

15th February 2013 10:24

Share:

AAMI Park for Rebels v Force

The opener: Home win at AAMI Park

The Rebels got their Super Rugby season off to a strong start on Friday as they defeated the 30-23 in a come-from-behind success at AAMI Park.

Second-half yellow cards shown to Chris Alcock and Alby Mathewson saw Michael Foley's outfit struggle to halt the home side's resurgence.

The Force had been 0-11 ahead with half-an-hour played when Alfi Mafi crossed the whitewash following two penalties from Kyle Godwin.

However, the home side gradually fought their way back into matters and ultimately prevailed thanks to scores from Ged Robinson, Hugh Pyle and Richard Kingi, with James O'Connor kicking strongly off the tee with fifteen points to his name.

The match began with the underdog Force on the front foot and they fully deserved their early 0-6 lead when Godwin pushed them ahead after missing his first shot at goal. Those points came either side of Scott Higginbotham being sent to the sin-bin for an alleged punch on 22 minutes.

Foley's men were in great form and looked hungry to cause an upset in the campaign opener, a result that looked all the more likely when Mafi crossed wide on the left after good initial driving saw lock Sam Wykes held up over the line.

With 30 minutes gone at AAMI Park the Rebels looked slightly flat until one of their more consistent players from last season, Ged Robinson, sliced through a hole on halfway to spark something of a resurgence in the Melbourne camp.

Higginbotham was now back on the field when the Rebels won a line-out and then drove over the line, with the aforementioned hooker the last man up from the scoring move.

O'Connor's conversion was good to make it a four-point ball game on 34 minutes as the Rebels continued to dominate the latter stages of the opening half. They added to their tally before the break when the Wallaby back kicked a penalty that sent the teams in at 10-11.

The second-half continued as the first ended and with more pressure applied, the hosts took the lead for the first time in the game thanks to a well-worked try. It came from a lovely inside ball from Kingi, who had worked a one-two with Hugh Pyle before the lock carried over. O'Connor was again successful with his kick as the Rebels went 17-11 ahead.

The Force weren't done however and when a nice set-move off a scrum saw them go blind via Sam Christie and Winston Stanley, the space was created for Mafi to grab his brace. Unfortunately for the visitors though Godwin's kick was wide so they remained behind.

However, the Force saw their hopes of claiming victory suffer a major setback when first flanker Alcock and then former Blues scrum-half Mathewson were sent to the sin-bin.

That allowed the Rebels to take the game by the scruff of the neck and they moved 27-16 ahead when wing Kingi pounced on a long pass to score in the corner. O'Connor added the extra two before the Force admirably hit back through replacement Richard Brown's converted try, which set up a grandstand finish that the Rebels managed to see off.

The scorers:

For Rebels:
Tries: Robinson, Pyle, Kingi
Con: O'Connor 3
Pen: O'Connor 3
Yellow: Higginbotham (22 mins)

For Force:
Tries: Mafi 2, Brown
Con: Godwin
Pen: Godwin 2
Yellow: Alcock (58 mins), Mathewson (61 mins)

Melbourne Rebels: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo Emile, 18 Cadeyrn Neville, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nick Stirzaker, 21 Alex Rokobaro, 22 Tom English.

Western Force: 15 Will Tupou, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan (c).
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Junior Rasolea.

Referee: Angus Gardner

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , April 19
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058