Melbourne’s Rebels have beaten Japan’s Sunwolves 17-37 to secure consecutive Super rugby wins for the first time in their history
The last meeting between these teams was in March 2016 and the Rebels won the match 35-9 in Tokyo.
Mebourne Rebels winger Jack Maddocks scored a hat-trick of tries as the Melbourne side outscored their host by five tries to two.
The Sunwolves have now earned competition points in each of their last two games; never before have they earned points in three consecutive fixtures.
In captain Adam Coleman’s 50th Super Rugby match, winger Jack Maddocks became the first Rebel to score a hat-trick to ensure the visitors retain the Ganbatte Trophy and jump to the top of the Australian Conference ladder.
A 27-point second-half blitz at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium sealed the victory for the Rebels after the two sides went into the break deadlocked at 10-all.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 10th minute after a Maddocks cut out pass to Sefa Naivalu on the left wing ignited a line break from halfway, before Naivalu found Maddocks back inside in support for the first try.
Maddocks was involved again three minutes later to set up the second try when a quick tap on pass found an unmarked Amananki Mafi on the left edge to double the Rebels advantage for a 10-0 lead.
The Rebels had the upper hand in the set piece with Coleman responsible for three line-out wins against the throw in the first-half. Adding to the Sunwolves woes, four players were escorted from the field before the break which further disrupted their momentum.
The hosts responded midway through the first-half when Ryoto Nakamura opened the Sunwolves account with a penalty in the 26th minute before winger Will Tupou plucked a wayward Rebels pass on halfway to level the scores.
Flyhalf Jack Debreczeni restored the Rebels lead four minutes after the restart with an early penalty to give the visitors a 13-10 lead after a sustained passage of attack.
The Rebels struck again four minutes later with a great centre field scrum set piece when a flat pass from Debreczeni to a wide running Tom English created an overlap on the left where a grateful Naivalu added to his two tries from last week.
From the next attacking scrum, the Rebels went the other way with a clever inside ball from Reece Hodge putting Debreczeni through a hole in the defence before the flyhalf found Maddocks out wide for his second of the game.
Maddocks completed his hat-trick four minutes later when some slick passing from Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty created space on the right edge for the 21-year-old to score in the corner to make it 30-10.
The Sunwolves were rewarded for their sustained pressure late when Rebels fullback Haylett-Petty was shown a yellow card for successive offside penalties.
The locals capitalised on the resulting man advantage in the 78th minute when Ed Quirk crashed over for the Sunwolves second try of the game off the back of a five-metre scrum to cut the deficit to 30-17.
From the resulting kick-off, the Rebels regained possession and surged after the full-time siren.
A ball down the short side from Maddocks was knocked down by Quirk which resulted in the No.8 given an early exit with a yellow card and a penalty try awarded to the Rebels after consultation with the video match official.
Next week the Rebels host the Brumbies in Melbourne while the Sunwolves travel to Durban to play the Sharks.
Final Score Sunwolves 17(10) Rebels 37 (10)
Tries – E.Quirk, W.Tupou
Pen – R.Nakamura
Con – R.Nakamura 2
Tries – J.Maddocks 3, S.Naivalu, A.Mafi
Pen – J.Debreczeni
Con – R.Hodge
Cards – D.Haylett-Petty (75th min yellow)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1:Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2:Shuhei Kubo
TMO :Minoru Fuji
15.Robbie Robinson, 14. Akihito Yamada, 13. Timothy Lafaele , 12. Ryoto Nakamura , 11. William Tupou , 10. Hayden Parker , 9. Yutaka Nagare (c) , 8. Ed Quirk , 7. Lappies Labuschagne , 6. Michael Leitch , 5. Willie Britz , 4. Sam Wykes , 3. Jiwon Koo , 2. Shota Horie ,1. Craig Millar
Replacements: 16. Atsushi Sakate,17. Keita Inagaki,18. Asaeli Ai Valu,19. James Moore,20. Yoshitaka Tokunaga,21. Fumiaki Tanaka,22. Harumichi Tatekawa,23. Ryuji Noguchi
1. Tetera Faulkner , 2. Jordan Uelese , 3. Jermaine Ainsley , 4. Matt Philip , 5. Adam Coleman (c) , 6. Lopeti Timani , 7. Angus Cottrell , 8. Amanaki Mafi , 9. Will Genia , 10. Jack Debreczeni , 11. Sefa Naivalu , 12. Reece Hodge , 13. Tom English (vc) , 14. Jack Maddocks , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty
Replacements: 16. Anaru Rangi , 17. Fereti Sa’aga , 18. Sam Talakai , 19. Geoff Parling , 20. Ross Haylett-Petty , 21. Colby Fainga’a , 22. Michael Ruru , 23.Billy Meakes