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Rebels fightback sinks Brumbies

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The Melbourne Rebels mounted a fierce comeback to beat the Brumbies 24-27 at a cold GIO Stadium, Canberra.

Reece Hodge kicked a 79th-minute penalty to decide the game in the Rebels‘ favour.

The Brumbies led 21-5 in the first-half and 24-10, going into the final quarter, but they could not halt the rampant Rebels.

Tom English grabbed a first-half brace while Jack Maddocks and Semisi Tupou scored after the interval.

It was the Brumbies who dominated most of the match, except for the final 20 minutes, when they let the visitors in the back door.

Tom Cusack, Faalelei Sione and Rob Valetini all scored their first Super Rugby tries inside the opening half-hour to open up a two-score lead.

Wharenui Hawera missed a crucial penalty which would have given his side a 17-point lead.

Maddock’s scored to level the scores soon after.

Christian Lealiifano also had a chance to win the game, but he pushed his penalty wide with the scores level 24-all with five minutes remaining.

Brumbies started with a bang, scoring three tries and racing into a big lead.

The game’s first score came in the seventh-minute when Angus Cottrell broke from his 10-metre line.

He beat Henry Speight’s tackle, ran past Hawera before being brought down by Joe Powell.

Cottrell offloaded to English, who sped away down the touchline.

It was the turn of the home team to get on the board.

The Rebels were caught offsides and the Brumbies kicked to the corner and went to their rolling maul.

Cusack crashed over from close range after the Brumbies went nine phases inside the Rebels 22.

Amanaki Mafi was sent to the bin after a high shot on Scott Sio and the Brumbies made their extra man count.

Cusack was at the heart of the attack again. He broke to the blindside, was tackled by Maddocks but got his offload to Sione.

The Brumbies were going through the phases and had the Rebels back-peddling.

Cusack caught the ball and offloaded to Speight. The ball was recycled quickly to Rob Valetini, who was over from close range.

Hawera was immaculate from the tee and put his team 21-5, up.

The Rebels kept themselves in touching distance when English dotted down for his double just before the break.

All Brumbies after halftime.

The Brumbies came out hot from the shed; they camped inside the opposition’s 22 for 15 minutes.

But they could not break the Rebels’ resistance, opting for a 56th-minute shot at goal.

Hawera made no mistake and the Brumbies had something to show for their efforts.

The turning point of the match came when Hawera missed his first kick of the game.

From that moment onwards, it was all Rebels, who found a gear and got their hands on the ball with long periods of possession.

Maddocks was over under the posts after taking the ball at first-receiver. He ghosted through a huge hole in the Brumbies’ defence for the score and reduce the deficit to seven.

The scores were soon level.

Tupou dived over in the corner after a powerful drive by the Rebels’ pack.

Michael Ruru broke blind, drew his man and put the 18-year-old away for his first Super Rugby try in his first start.

Hodge’s conversion made it 24-all with less than 12 minutes on the clock.

The Brumbies were all at sea and could not stop the momentum of the visitors, who were searching for a winner.

Lealiifano had a late chance to win the game for his team, but his kick sailed wide.

It was Hodge instead, who stepped up to be the hero for the Melbourne team.

Brumbies versus Rebels video highlights.

Final score: Brumbies 24 (21) Rebels 27 (10)

Scorers

Brumbies
Tries – Cusack, Sione, Valetini
Pen – Hawera
Con – Hawera (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Rebels
Tries – English (2), Maddocks, Tupou
Pen – Hodge
Con – Hodge (2)
Drop –
Cards – Mafi (Yellow, 22′)

Teams

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Lausii Taliauli.

Melbourne Rebels

15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Semisi Tupou, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga,

Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Sam Jeffries, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Harrison Goddard, 23 Billy Meakes.

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