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Waratahs withstand wasteful Rebels

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The Waratahs claimed a 15-20 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in a physical Australian derby at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

Both teams scored two tries, but it was the boot of Bernard Foley that settled the all-Aussie clash in greasy conditions that hampered the sides running game.

A blistering second-half fightback by the Rebels saw them overturn two 10-point deficits, but poor handling in the slippery conditions saw Dave Wessels’ charges fall short.

Will Genia scored with 21 minutes to play, after Curtis Rona’s 54th-minute try, to give the home crowd belief of a comeback.

But it came to nought.

The Waratahs withstood the late barrage to earn the hard-fought victory, digging deep into their reserves, to keep out the Rebels in the final quarter.

Melbourne dominated the second half, but could not land the killer blow.

Defeat dents Wessels’ side’s chances of making the Super Rugby playoffs.

Daryl Gibson’s men, so often fading late in games, managed to hold on to the win.

The Waratahs dominated the first half, helped by wasteful Rebels

Adam Ashley-Cooper opened the scoring in the seventh minute after a brilliant backline move.

Foley added the conversion before trading penalties with Quade Cooper as the Waratahs took a seven-point first-quarter lead.

The 29-year-old first receiver extended the Tahs’ lead to 10 with a 24th-minute penalty after a series of attacks were stopped illegally by the retreating Rebels.

The hits kept coming in a South African-style Australian derby.

Reece Hodge dislocated a finger in a double-tackle with Cooper on Kurtley Beale.

Super Rugby Video highlights, Round 16: Melbourne Rebels versus Waratahs, AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Waratahs enjoyed almost two-thirds territory and possession as they ground down their opponent’s pack.

Both sides kicked throughout, playing for territory.

Their kicks, as well as handling, was errant.

Rona went close but was tackled into touch by Matt To’omua.

The Rebels were reeling

Rona soon went from attacker to defender when he chased back from his left wing to tackle Marika Koroibete, who looked sure to score.

Melbourne’s lack of composure, coupled with mounting handling errors, cost them two tries.

The pack was held-up after pushing their opponent’s back over their line, but the execution was messy.

A TMO decision of “no try” because the ball could not be seen underneath the pile of bodies, kept the hosts out.

They came again only for Anaru Rangi – after another TMO review – to knock on in the build-up to a try, a few minutes later.

New South Wales survived to lead 13-3 at the break.

Kicking duel continues to England levels as teams wait for a mistake

The restart saw both sides using the boot to the frustration of the crowd.

Just as you thought the Rebels had run out of ideas, they come up with a powerful driving maul, which led to Cooper’s try.

The ball was mauled forward before Genia sent it wide.

A delightful combination between Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty put Cooper away.

The 31-year-old standoff added the extras to reduce the deficit to three in the 50th-minute.

But the Waratahs hit back thanks to a missed knock-on by referee Paul Williams and a lucky bounce of the ball.

Nick Phipps knocked on in the previous phase, but the ref missed it.

Mr Williams, instead, awarded a scrum to the visitors inside the Melbourne 22 to the displeasure of the home team and their supporters.

Rona dotted down from the resulting scrum.

Ashley-Cooper barged through Jack Maddocks and offloaded the pass before being tackled into touch.

The ball bounced between Hodge’s feet, hit Rona’s boot for the winger to collect and score from two metres out.

Foley, flawless from the tee, extended his side’s lead back to 10 points.

Waratahs survive a late onslaught

Melbourne came flying back. Koroibete was instrumental again in attack.

Genia picked up a rolling ball after a mistake almost cost the Rebels possession inside the red zone.

It was the scrumhalf’s 24th Super Rugby try.

Cooper missed the touchline conversion, but the momentum was with the Rebels going into the final quarter.

However, more poor handling cost the home team a win.

Melbourne had all the territory and possession but lost the ball in contact several times inside NSW 22.

The Tahs leaked penalties, tiring as they are want to do in the final quarter.

They clung to victory thanks to some superb work at the breakdown.

A final attack by the Rebels’ forwards, driving towards the line with a powerful maul, ended rather fittingly when the ball was lost forward at the ruck.

Final Score: Rebels 15 (3) Waratahs 20 (13)

Scorers

Rebels
Tries – Cooper, Genia
Pen – Cooper
Con – Cooper
Drop –
Cards –

Waratahs
Tries – Ashley-Cooper, Rona
Pen – Foley (2)
Con – Foley (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Jaco Peyper
TMO: James Leckie

Teams

15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Matt To’omua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner

Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Tom English

Waratahs

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson

Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Cameron Clark

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