Planet Rugby

Rebels stun Crusaders

12th May 2012 09:41

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nick phipps rebels v crusaders

Rebels brace: Nick Phipps

The Rebels pulled off the upset of the Super Rugby season after beating the Crusaders 28-19 in Melbourne on Saturday.

With just two wins to their name before this match, the odds were certainly stacked against the hosts to knock over the seven-time champions.

However, the Rebels threw the form book out the window and produced a clinical performance to shock the men in red and black for a memorable - yet highly unexpected - win.

Rebels halfback Nick Phipps was the home side's hero after crossing twice, while veteran centre Stirling Mortlock also touched down for a crucial try that sealed the come-from-behind win for his team.

The Crusaders led 19-10 at half-time thanks to the boot of Tom Taylor and a Sam Whitelock try, but uncharacteristically failed to add any more points after the break.

The result had no immediate effect on where both teams are placed in the Super Rugby standings but as the Crusaders even failed to take a losing bonus point from the match, the New Zealand conference has tightened.

The hosts started brightly with Phipps snatching the ball out of a ruck near the posts and breaching the Crusaders defence with a low dive over the line in the 12th minute.

Taylor got the Crusaders on the board with two penalty goals, before the visitors hit the front through Whitelock's simple try after a burst down the left touchline by Tom Marshall. The Crusaders full-back was hauled down a few metres short, but Whitelock was on hand to scoop up the ball for a clear run-in.

Taylor kicked the conversion and then slotted his third and fourth penalties to give the visitors a 19-10 half-time lead.

But it was all the Rebels in the second half and while they weren't able to breach the opposition defence in the third quarter, two penalties from fly-half Kurtley Beale, who delivered his second successive starring performance, cut the deficit to three.

Then two tries in three minutes from the Rebels sealed the sensational win.

First Mark Gerrard charged through a pack of players and passed the ball inside to the supporting Phipps, who dived over under the sticks to put the Rebels in front with 14 minutes left.

Mortlock's try came after the replacement center, in only his second match of the season, intercepted a pass and charged to the line. Realizing he would be caught short, he offloaded to winger Cooper Vuna, who spun in the tackle before again finding an open Mortlock.

It was Mortlock's 56th Super Rugby try and arguably his most important.

The Crusaders attempted to launch a late comeback, but the Rebels defence was up to the task and kept the red and black machine at bay.

And, in an ironic twist, it was Richie McCaw who knocked on after the final hooter to emphasise the Crusaders poor form on the night.

The scorers:

For Rebels:
Tries: Phipps 2, Mortlock
Cons: Beale 2
Pens: Beale 3

For Crusaders:
Try: S Whitelock
Con: Taylor
Pens: Taylor 4

Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Tim Davidson, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Ryan Hodson, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Israel Dagg.


Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

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