Super Rugby

Waratahs beat Rebels with epic comeback in Melbourne




This match is the first of two Super Rugby matches between the Melbourne Rebels and the New South Wales Waratahs this year.

Israel Folau is back at fullback as the Waratahs run out onto the field.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

There are no changes to the Rebels for the first time in 28 matches. BEEP! We are off in Melbourne.

BEEP! We are off in Melbourne.

3.00: PENALTY! Reece Hodge gives the home team the lead.

4.00: Good start for the Rebels but, they will need an 80-minute display if they are to get a win in this Aussie derby. ‘Tahs attack inside the opposition 22.

5.00: 15 phases later and the visitors win a penalty. They take a scrum on the 5.

8.00: Oh no, Bernard Foley throws a poor pass and the opportunity is lost. Scrum to the hosts.

9.00: The scrum is reset.

10.00: PENALTY! Collapsing is the call, Fereti Sa’aga is pinged in the front row. Foley will kick this time.

11.00: It’s good and the game is level.

13.00: Some scrappy play comes to an end when Amanaki Mafi is penalised for being in front of the kicker. Foley kicks to touch and the visitors have an attacking line-out.

15.00: STOLEN! The Waratahs attack is over after they lose it in a tackle. Some big collisions early on in Melbourne. Colby Fainga’a steals the ball and releases the pressure. Play is stopped for an injury.

16.00: Garden-Bachop kicks forward. The Tahs get it and lose it shortly after. The Rebels on the attack now at the half way.

17.00: It’s end to end action, the Rebels attack inside the Tahs’ half but, should have scored, instead, they threw an interception.

18.00: TRY! Reece Hodge gets the first try after a burst between Tolu Latu and Will Skelton. He spotted the two big men, stepped off his right and ran 35 metres to score under the posts. Great start to an open match. The centre converts from in front.

21.00: There’s a brief stoppage for an injury to Culum Retallick who is off with a blow to the cheek. It looks bad and he’s bleeding from the clash of heads. Dominic Day is on the pitch.

23.oo: PENALTY! Hodge is lining up a shot at goal from 36 metres out.

24.00: It’s good, sailing through the middle. The canon and the radar is working tonight for Hodge.

27.00: The Rebels’ scramble defence has been good, the Waratahs can’t get through.

28.00: PENALTY! Tom English wins a turnover but, the kick is charged down. Day returns to the field, Schatz to the bench and Rettalick is getting ready to return.

29.00: Another PENALTY! Retallick slows the ball down illegally. Michael Hooper asks the referee to give a yellow. Foley slots the simple kick from inside the Rebels’ 22.

30.00: TRY! But Brendon Pickerill consults the TMO for an obstruction in the build-up to the score. Hooper ran into Colby Fainga’a so no obstruction. Tom English scores after Jack Debreczeni releases the centre. It started from Amanaki Mafi’s lovely offload in the Ned Hanigan tackle which released the fullback.

31.00: Hodge kicks his second conversion and is four from four already.

34.00: PENALTY! Rebels kick to touch after a deliberate knock-on from Dean Mumm – who looked offside anyway. Hodge kicks deep and the hosts have a line-out on the 22. Hodge incidentally, has 15 points already in the game.

37.00: TRY! it’s that man HODGE who has a double. The Rebels powered towards the line, taking the ball on the angle.

38.00: Hodge is charged down when really, he should have made the kick.

39.00: PENALTY! Hodge attempts a wide kick, near touch, about 47 metres out. It’s no good.

40.00: The hooter goes but, the Waratahs have a scrum.

41.00: the ‘Tahs take it wide but are shut down. Had Hodge kicked those last two kicks, the score would’ve been at a 24-point deficit, instead, it’s three converted tries.

The halftime score was Rebels 25 Waratahs 6

It’s the Reece Hodge show at AAMI Park. The Waratahs have lost eight turnovers in the first 40. They need to address that.

Beep! Brendon Pickerill begins the second half.

41.00: Scrum to Waratahs after Israel Folau wins an aerial challenge. The 19-point lead is the Rebels’ biggest ever half-time lead.

42.00: PENALTY! Foley kicks deep and have a lineout close to the Rebels’ try-line.

43.00: Knock on by Hooper from the top of the set piece. Scrum Rebels.

45.00: PENALTY! Hodge kicks to the corner and turns down three points. Lineout is on the 22.

46.00: The Rebels lose it on their throw, the Waratahs take it wide and clear. The ball is taken deep inside the hosts’ half and they mount a counter attack.

47.00: PENALTY! Foley releases the pressure with a kick to the near touchline. the Rebels’ lineout has been creaking and they’ll need to address that.

49.00: TRY! Ned Hanigan goes over in the corner. Foley started the move and after a break by David Horwitz, the centre popped to his partner Rob Horne, who draws a defender and releases the flanker. Hanigan beats a cover tackle then is hit hard in the grounding but, manages to control the ball to score.

50.00: Foley reduces the deficit to 12 points.

52.00: The Tahs have all the momentum and are all over the Rebels until a clearance is made by the hosts after regaining the ball. The declined shot at goal has, effectively, made a 10-point swing. It might prove costly.

55.00: The Waratahs attack deep inside the hosts’ half; some errors creeping into the game as the players tire. It’s been frenetic so far. The Rebels are in trouble and concede a penalty. ‘Tahs opt for a scrum, 15 metres out.

57.00: TRY! The comeback is on. The ball is moved up the field to Jake Gordon who gives a loose pass to Reece Robinson but he gathers the grubber pass and bursts over the line to score.

59.00: Foley misses from the touchline but, the Waratahs have all the momentum.

61.00: PENALTY! The visitors are winning the scrums, line-outs and the breakdown. The Rebels are in trouble as they lose their grip on this derby.

64.00: The Waratahs are all over the Rebels and after two penalty advantages, they take a quick tap and surge forward again.

65.00: Wow, the Rebels intercept the ball inside their 22 and kick the ball into touch.

66.00: The Rebels, finally, steal a line-out but, they turn the ball over and are defending again; they’re hanging on and win a penalty at the breakdown after the Tahs are pinged for going off their feet.

68.00: Garden-Bachop passes a forward ball to Sefa Naivalu and, the visitors get the ball back.

70.00: Hooper makes a break, takes the ball into the 22 but, as the Tahs look like scoring, the home team turnover the ball; the skipper should have backed himself.

71.00: Cam Clarke is on for Rob Horne. TheRebelss forwards are keeping their team in this game with some crucial turnovers at the breakdown. Scrum to the Rebels inside their 22.

74.00: The Waratahs are on the attack inside the 22. The home team cannot clear their lines and are under immense pressure.

75.00: YELLOW CARD! Colby Fainga’a is sent to the bin.

76.00: TRY! Michael Wells scores from close range. The comeback is complete thanks to Foley’s conversion. The Rebels have wilted.

79.00: TRY! WHAT AC COMEBACK! David Horwitz scores the winner.

80.00: Foley adds the extras and the Waratahs win. Wow!

The Waratahs turned around a 19-point half-time deficit, scoring four second-half tries to mount one of the great Super Rugby comebacks and, win by seven. Breathe.

Live In-Play Betting.

The final score is Rebels 25 (25) Waratahs 32 (6)


Tries – Hodge (2), English
Pen – Hodge (2)
Con – Hodge (2)
Drop –
Cards – Yellow (Fainga’a, 75th minute)

Tries – Hanigan, Robinson, Wells, Horwitz
Pen – Foley (2)
Con – Foley (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2: Jordan Way
TMO: George Ayoub


Melbourne Rebels 

15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Fereti Sa’aga.

Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Dominic Day^*, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Mitch Inman, 23 Ben Volavola.

^Super Rugby debut
*Rebels debut


15 Israel Folau, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Andrew Kellaway, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Cam Clark, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.

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