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Stormers reduce Rebels to rubble

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The Stormers upset the high-flying Rebels 17-41 with an astounding display at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

The victory ends a torrid Australasian tour for the Stormers, who had lost 11 of their previous 12 away matches, and the three on tour before tonight.

It was a performance built on gutsy defending and taking opportunities, something the Stormers have lacked and not been able to do.

Ruhan Nel grabbed a second-half brace to add to scores from Dillyn Leyds, Juarno Augustus and Damian de Allende.


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Melbourne enjoyed 68 per cent possession and 75% territory but was ineffective with ball in hand and error-prone.

Robbie Fleck’s much-maligned side also made 145 tackles to just 23 of the Rebels, but it was the tackle success-rate that made the difference.

Dave Wessels will be upset with his team’s 49% success of only 47 attempts to the opposition’s 88%, which made the difference.

The Stormers held the Rebels’ tryless with a strong defensive effort to take a seven-point lead into the break after a Leyds stunner.

Video Highlights: Melbourne Rebels versus Stormers

Jean-Luc Du Plessis’ horror mistake 30 seconds after the restart saw Reece Hodge intercept his pass and score under the posts. Quade Cooper levelled at 10-all.

A nine-minute three-try blitz saw the Stormers pull away, scoring 24 unanswered points despite only having 28% possession as the shellshocked Rebels were reduced to rubble.

Will Genia and Campbell Magnay scored to reduce the deficit to 10, but Nel’s late intercept brought up the forty-burger and a well-deserved win before flying back to South Africa.

The loss ends a three-game winning streak for the Australians and makes it six defeats from seven games against the Cape Town franchise.

Leyds’ special puts Stormers on top

Melbourne started well, going 10 phases in the opening minutes to put the Stormers on the backfoot.

Strong defence set the tone for the rest of the evening as the Cape Tonians kept their hosts at bay.

A counter-attack, started by Du Plessis’ boot, pinned the Rebels inside their 22. Wessels’ charges tried to run the ball out, but Angus Cottrell toed the ball in Leyds’ hands.

The flyer collected the rolling ball and sped past Genia and Billy Meakes as he made a beeline into the 22.

Cooper and Semisi Tupou tried to halt the 26-year-old, but he stepped inside both before dotting down for the five-pointer. Du Plessis added the extras.

Both teams were shipping penalties and making handling errors which killed attacks.

Jaco Coetzee was a wrecking machine, winning turnovers and making powerful runs in first receiver channel that caused the Australians problems.

Cooper was playing very flat, attacking the gain line from an almost offside position which Steven Kitshoff took up with referee Mike Fraser.

The Rebels probed the Stormers’ defence but it stood firm. Cooper and Du Plessis exchanged penalties.

Leyds cleaned up a Genia grubber. Sergeal Petersen thought he was away only for Mr Fraser to correctly call a Nel knock-on.

Tupou should have scored but he could not hang onto the ball in contact. To and fro, tit for tat.

The brick wall could not be breached

The Rebels bashed away 15 phases of big ball carriers around the corner before they gave the ball to their backs. Cooper shifted to Meakes, but he couldn’t hold on.

It was let-off and it gave the visitors a lift because the opposition had been scoring tries off second and third-phase attacks.

Yet, the longer the series of plays went, the more comfortable the Stormers looked.

A Du Plessis brain-freeze saw the host level less than a minute after halftime.

The flyhalf collected Genia’s box-kick and he attempted a long, floated pass to Damian Willemse, just outside their 22.

Hodge, ever the opportunist, sped up and snatched the ball from the air and raced away. Cooper levelled.

Coetzee left the field after clashing knees with Hodge, leaving the Stormers short of a ball-carrying threat.

But the home team could not make their fortune count. Instead, it was Fleck’s men who upped their game.

Leyds was at it again, this time throwing a dummy before putting Willemse through a gap.

The fullback carried into the opposition’s 22 before releasing Augustus down the touchline for his first Super Rugby try.

It was time for more fancy footwork by Leyds when he danced through two defenders off a lineout, stood strong in a tackle before popping to De Allende, on the outside shoulder.

De Allende swatted aside Cooper to score. The game was all but over, four minutes later after another Cooper blunder.

The standoff tried to collect Josh Stander’s (on for Du Plessis) kick before it bounced. All he did was knock the ball into the on-rushing Nel to seal the deal.

To make matters worse, Stander’s long-range penalty bounced off the crossbar and over.

Time ran out for Rebels

With less than 13 minutes to play Genia’s angled – run from the top of the lineout move – cut the visitors open.

Campbell Magnay crashed over in the corner after Marika Koroibete’s smart work on the sideline. It was Cooper’s sleight of hand put Magnay away.

The Wallaby 10 slotted the sideline kick to make it a 10-point deficit with three to play.

It was a fool’s hope because the South Africans smacked the Aussies in the mouth with an interception that gave Nel his second, and his team a much-deserved victory.

Final Score: Rebels 24 (3) Stormers 41 (10)

Scorers

Rebels
Tries – Hodge, Genia, Magnay
Pen – Cooper
Con – Cooper (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Stormers
Tries – Leyds, Augustus, De Allende, Nel (2)
Pen – J. Du Plessis, Stander
Con – J. Du Plessis (2), Stander (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: James Leckie

Teams

Rebels

15 Reece Hodge, 14 Semisi Tupou, 134 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell (captain), 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Tetera Faulkner.

Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Campbell Magnay.

Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Ernst van Rhyn (Stormers debut), 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).

Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla.

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