The Melbourne Rebels have played the Western Force 13 times in Super Rugby since 2011, the Rebels have won nine matches and lost times.
The Rebels’ nine wins give them a record of winning 69% of their matches against the Force regardless of the venue in Super Rugby.
- A single-figure margin has decided thirteen of the previous 14 Super Rugby matches between the Rebels and Force; the Rebels (W10) have won the majority of the games in that span.
- The Perth side has lost their last seven Super Rugby matches in succession, the last time they endured a longer losing run was a club-record 10-match stretch in the 2015 season.
- The Force have made 153 tackles per game in Super Rugby AU, the most of any team and one of two sides with an average of 150+ (Reds – 151 per game).
- Isi Naisarani (Rebels) has made more carries per game (15.3) than any other player in Super Rugby AU, as well as the most offloads per game (1.3) of any forward.
- Jeremy Thrush (Force) has won 37 lineouts in Super Rugby AU (Inc. 4 steals), more than any other player in the tournament.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Newcastle where the sun is shining and the Rebels need to win by four points to make the Super Rugby playoffs for the first time in their history.
2.00: Jack McGregor clears to halfway after Matt To’omua’s monster clearance from his 22.
4.00: There was a late change to the Rebels’ bench. Esei Ha’angana comes in for Brad Wilkin.
5.00: Kieran Longbottom does not roll away and concedes a penalty inside the Rebels’ 22.
7.00: The Rebels give away a penalty near their 22, the Force will take a shot at goal.
9.00: PENALTY! Ian Prior slots the goal from in front to open the scoring. 0-3
10.00: Jeremy Thrush concedes a penalty at the ruck.
11.00: Michael Wells drops the ball into touch with nobody in front of him. It was a walkover try. The Rebels had the penalty advantage though, and they kick to the corner.
14.00: Both teams’ lineout throwing is already looking very dodgy; some throws have been skew but not called by the referee.
16.00: Jono Lance has his kick charged down by To’omua. Uelese chased the bouncing ball, booting the ball forward before McGregor kicked the ball out behind his goal-line for a Rebels five-metre scrum.
18.00: TRY! Fantastic flyhalf play from To’omua, who sends Tom Pincus, running a beautiful line, away with a deft pass under the posts. 5-3
19.00: CONVERSION! To’omua adds the extras. 7-3
20.00: TRY! McGregor does to To’omua what To’omua did to Reece Hodge and Bill Meakes, standing him up with a deft pass for Henry Taefu, who side-steps a defender to score. 7-8
21.00: MISS! Prior misses a pretty simple conversion. 7-8
22.00: Marika Koroibete chases a kick and wins the penalty. To’omua calls for the tee.
24.00: PENALTY! To’omua puts his team back in front. 10-8
25.00: Another penalty to the Rebels, who will take another shot at goal.
26.00: PENALTY! To’omua knocks over the easy kick. 13-8
28.00: TRY! Reece Hodge scores in the corner after another charge-down. It was an expert finish in the corner after bursting through two defenders. 18-8
30.00: CONVERSION! The touchline kick is good by To’omua. 20-8
34.00: The Rebels have set-up another good attack inside the opposition’s 22; they are getting some quick ball and have the Force on the back foot.
35.00: NO TRY! Pek Cowan crashes over but McGregor is obstructed by a Rebels’ player and the score is chalked off. 20-8
38.00: The Western force has an attacking scrum outside the opposition’s 22.
39.00: Some fantastic work at the breakdown sees Dave Wessels’ side win the ball and clear. There is still time for a lineout to the Force, about five metres out.
40.00: TRY! Andrew Ready flops over the whitewash after a powerful driving maul dismantles the Melbourne pack. Boy, the Western Force needed that. They won’t go away. 20-13
42.00: MISS! Prior’s kick slides across the face of the posts. 20-13
The halftime score was Melbourne Rebels 20 Western Force 13
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New South Wales.
43.00: The Rebels hold up the maul, but Koroibete is caught offsides. Lance kicks to the corner.
44.00: TRY! Ready crashes over again, this time from the rolling maul. 20-18
45.00: CONVERSION! Prior levels the scores. 20-20
47.00: NO TRY! The Rebels thought they had scored, but after a lengthy debate by the officials, the try was chalked off and a scrum awarded to the Rebels. 20-20
49.00: NO TRY! Meakes is held-up over the line following a barnstorming run from midfield. Big defence by Taefu. 20-20
52.00: It’s all Rebels at the moment as the Force hold on. Ready, who has a double to go with a couple of turnovers, wins a penalty at the breakdown after making the tackle.
55.00: Isi Naisarani gives away two penalties in quick succession to offer three points to the opposition.
56.00: PENALTY! Prior drills the ball between the uprights. 20-23
57.00: YELLOW CARD! Pincus is sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knockdown. 20-23
58.00: TRY! Brynard Stander, in his 50th Super Rugby game, barges over from close range from a pick-and-go. 20-28
59.00: CONVERSION! Prior lands another two. 20-30
60.00: TRY! Dane Haylett-Petty scores after the start. A wonderful counter-attack saw Haylett-Petty score after a one-two between Hodge and Koroibete before the winger put the fullback away. 25-30
61.00: CONVERSION! To’omua adds the extras. 27-30
61.00: YELLOW CARD! Byron Ralston gets a card after taking a man out in the air. 27-30
62.00: Hodge kicks a penalty out over the goal-line – that is terrible by Hodge.
67.00: The Rebels can’t get over their mistakes and look tired.
70.00: Both teams look tired. The seven-point gap is looming large in the psyche of Wessels’ side, who might have blown another chance at the playoffs.
72.00: Both teams are back to 15v15.
73.00: NO TRY! Koroibete thinks he has scored, but the referee asks the TMO to check for a forward pass, which is confirmed. 27-30
75.00: Nick Frisby’s kick is out on the full.
75.00: YELLOW CARD! Fergus Lee-Warner is off for cynical play close to his line. 27-30
76.00: NO TRY! Cabous Eloff knock-on going for the whitewash. 27-30
77.00: Time is running out for the Rebels.
78.00: NO TRY! The Rebels win the turnover at the scrum and batter the line. They go 10 phases but are kept out before Matt Philip celebrates but we need to wait for the TMO’s call. 27-30
80.00: TRY! Eloff puts the ball on the chalk, but the ref rules out the try because he could not see the ball on the line. It’s taking forever to check before it is awarded. WOW! 32-30
80.00: CONVERSION! To’omua lands the kick that takes his team to the finals. 34-30
The Rebels make the Super Rugby finals for the first time in their history in this nailbiter.
The final score after 80 minutes is Rebels 34 (20) Force 30 (13)
Tries – Pincus, Hodge, Haylett-Petty, Eloff
Pen – To’omua (2)
Con – To’omua (4)
Cards – Pincus (Yellow, 57′)
Tries – Taefu, Ready (2)
Pen – Prior (2)
Con – Prior
Cards – Ralston (Yellow, 60′), Lee-Warner (Yellow’ 75′)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2: Amy Perrett
TMO: James Leckie
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Tom Pincus, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr
Replacements: 16 Efitusi Ma’afu, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Matt Gibbon, 19 Michael Stolberg, 20 Esei Ha’angana, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Andrew Deegan, 23 Lachie Anderson
15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Pek Cowan
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dominic Hardman, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Nick Jooste, 23 Jake Strachan