Cape Town – The Rebels have beaten the Waratahs in their all-Australian Super Rugby clash played in the rain in Melbourne on Friday.
As it happened | Rebels v Waratahs
The Rebels, who were ultimately worthy winners, ran out 24-10 victors after leading 8-3 at half-time.
It was the Rebels’ first win of the season, while the Waratahs crashed to a third successive defeat.
Pressure is now piling on new Waratahs coach Rob Penney and his struggling team, who have leaked 99 points in three matches.
They lost a lot of experience after last season and are still trying to find their feet under Penney.
Despite winning 15 of their previous 17 Super Rugby clashes with the Rebels, including the past six, they were no match at AAMI Park.
“A full 80 minute performance. It wasn’t pretty but really happy with the way the boys grinded, really physical,” said Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty. “We had to be patient, we outlasted them I thought.”
Matt Toomua gave them an early lead with a penalty after Waratahs debutant Angus Bell collapsed a scrum before Will Harrison evened it up.
But it was the Rebels making territory and winger Marika Koroibete crashed over for the first try of the night on 14 minutes as rain lashed down.
In a worrying sign for the Rebels, Wallabies stalwart Reece Hodge went off injured clutching his right thigh, but unfazed they kept pressing and Ryan Louwrens had a try disallowed when his boot touched the sideline.
Another try was ruled out for obstruction just before half-time as they went to the break leading 8-3.
The Waratahs returned fired up and powered over for a try six minutes after the restart with Harry Johnson-Holmes dotting down and Harrison adding the conversion.
But two more Toomua penalties gave the Rebels the edge and when Andrew Kellaway dived over after an intense 17-phase build up with six minutes left there was no way back.
“We can’t hold onto the ball so how are we supposed to win those pressure situations,” said dejected Waratahs captain Rob Simmons. “It’s something that needs to be addressed.”
For the visiting Waratahs, it was their third match on the trot in which they failed to pick up a losing bonus point – leaving them rooted to the bottom of both the Australian Conference and the Overall log.
In next weekend’s Round 4 action, the Rebels host the Sharks at the little-known Mars Stadium (Saturday, February 22 at 05:45 SA time), while the Waratahs have a bye.
Try: Marika Koroibete, Andrew Kellaway (2)
Penalties: Matt Toomua (3)
Try: Harry Johnson-Holmes
Conversion: Will Harrison
15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Matt Gibbon
Substitutes: 16 Steven Misa, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Cabous Eloff, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Robert Leota, 21 Angus Cottrell, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Andrew Kellaway
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Cameron Clark, 13 Alex Newsome, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Jack Maddocks, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Angus Bell
Substitutes: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Ryan Mccauley, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Mitch Short , 22 Lalkai Foketi, 23 Mark Nawaqanitawase