First twenty minutes costs Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

First twenty minutes costs Rebels

First twenty minutes costs Rebels

The Rebels were coming off the bye and unfortunately, they did not return from the bye until around twenty minutes into the match where the Hurricanes led 26 nil.

To the Rebels credit they did fight back after that, only conceding one more score a penalty goal but with Cooper’s missed penalty goal, it was a day where the Rebels walked away empty handed.

First half

From a line out inside the first minute, the Hurricanes spread the ball wide with the two wingers Wes Goosen and Chase Tiatia linking up with each other. Tiatia gained 35 metres and was stopped just metres out. A desperate tackle by Will Genia on Vaea Fifita resulted in a turnover on the Rebels defensive 22.

The Hurricanes were then penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Reece Hodge attempted a shot at goal from 52 metres. He had the distance but not the accuracy.

Asafo Aumua from a Rebels turn over ran 40 metres to inside the 10 and offloaded to Ardie Savea who couldn’t handle the pass with the line wide open. A short time later Ngani Laumape powered his way over the line, running from 40 metres out near the wing to score under the posts. Laumape busted tackles at will. Hurricanes led 7 – 0.

Quade Cooper put in a cross-field kick for Marika Koroibete but Jordie Barrett read it well and was tackled high by Angus Cottrell. From the ensuing penalty the Hurricanes had a line out inside the Rebels’ 22. The Rebels defence was too bunched up and the Hurricanes spread the ball with Beauden Barrett going over untouched. Barrett converted his try to give the Hurricanes a 14-nil lead inside 10 minutes. And the signs were there that it was going to be a long day for the Rebels.

Quade Cooper gave Marika Koroibete some space down the wing with a long pass over the top. This helped the Rebels get inside the Hurricanes 22. But Ardie Savea stole the ball and Beauden Barrett caused some chaos by running back at the Rebels and breaking numerous tackles and at the end of the drive Barrett got the ball back and drove a kick deep in Rebels territory. The Hurricanes got over the line from the Rebels lineout, although may not have grounded the ball. It didn’t matter though as the TMO ruled that the Hurricanes knocked on at the line out.

After 11 phases after a Hurricanes line out in the Rebels 22, the Rebels defence were attracted to the middle of the ground like bees to a honey pot and Jordie Barrett threw a long pass to winger Wes Goosen who had a hectare and ran 22 metres to score. Beauden Barrett just missed the conversion and the Hurricanes led 19 – 0 and were in bonus point territory after 16 minutes.

Reece Hodge made a break through the Hurricanes line just inside Hurricanes territory and passed to Quade Cooper. Unfortunately, Cooper had a little look to his right to see what he was going to do next and put the pass down.

From the scrum, Goosen almost made a break down the wing. Following his run Beauden Barrett threw a beautiful ball to James Blackwell who passed to Aumua who steamrolled over Will Genia. Aumua passed to Vaea Fifita, Fifita picked up the ball on the bounce who ran thirty metres untouched for another try. Hurricanes 26 nil and well and truly beating the clock. At this stage of the game I thought about the ‘dad’ joke that the Rebels must think defence is the thing you build around de-house.

The Rebels had an attacking lineout outside the Hurricanes 22, an insightful run from Will Genia saw the Rebels get within 5 metres of the Hurricanes line. Unfortunately, a loopy pass over the top from Genia to Maddocks saw Maddocks easily taken into touch.

The best period for the Rebels in the first half was when the Hurricanes had a scrum feed 15 metres out from their own line. The Hurricanes front row were penalised for standing up. The Rebels requested another scrum and the were awarded a free kick for early engagement. Genia took the free kick and found Dane Haylett Petty, Anaru Rangi and Will Genia were both tackled close to the line and the ball was turned over but the Hurricanes were penalised for being offside. From the next scrum the Rebels almost barged the ball over but the Hurricanes scrum was once again penalised. The Rebels attacked the line from the next scrum with English and Naisarani among those to get close. But the ball was ripped away in a tackle by Ardie Savea. The ball seemed to come forward from Savea but Genia knocked on straight after that and Genia was called for the knock on.

Ardie Savea came close to scoring following a 5-metre scrum from the Hurricanes but Luke Jones did enough in defence as Savea tried to barge over to see Savea lose the ball over the try line.

There was no more scoring in the second half and the Hurricanes led at half time 26 nil.

Second half

Shortly after the restart Reece Hodge copped a falcon (ball to the face / head) from a Beauden Barrett kick. The driving maul was the Rebels go to in the next few minutes. The Hurricanes were penalised for collapsing a maul from a lineout outside the Rebels’ defensive 22. After finding touch, the Rebels found touch thirty five metres out from the Hurricanes’ line. From a maul the Rebels gained another 15 metres but after seven phases Dane Haylett-Petty lost the ball in a tackle from Fraser Armstrong and Ngani Laumape.

The Rebels received another penalty at a scrum on their attacking 22. The Rebels again used the driving maul from the lineout and got close to the line but the Hurricanes collapsed the maul and were penalised. The Rebels received another penalty at the next line out for tackling the jumper in the air and the Hurricanes received a yellow card warning from Nick Berry (though despite a number of penalties after that a yellow card never eventuated). During the next driving maul Reed Prinsep stole the ball for the Hurricanes.

After concerted attacking from the Rebels in the second half they finally got on the board. Following a scrum Quade Cooper threw a wonderful ball to put Reece Hodge threw a hole. From the next ruck Genia found Matt Philip who strolled over next to the posts. Cooper’s conversion made changed the score to 26 to 7.

Shortly after the kick off, Cooper kicked a ball into touch when Genia passed the ball back into 22. After the line out Beauden Barrett put in a little kick that was read by Quade Cooper who then put in a little kick for Koroibete to chase. Goosen knocked the ball on as he ran back to regather it and Tiatia was ruled to be offside as he picked up the ball.

The Rebels lost the ball at the line out but then the ball popped out of the Hurricanes’ ruck and Matt Philip ran 15 metres before the Rebels lost the ball themselves.

Angus Cottrell made an insightful run for the Rebels gaining 15 metres for the Rebels following a short pass from Philip. The Hurricanes were then penalised for being off their feet at the ruck. The Rebels kicked for touch but the Hurricanes pinched the ball at the five metre line out.

The Rebels continued to dominate the possession and field position in the second half. Cooper made a wonderful inside ball to Tom English and English tried to reciprocate to Reece Hodge.  Unfortunately, Hodge was unable to handle the pass less than five metres out from the Hurricanes line.

From yet another attacking line out on the Hurricanes’ defensive 22, Genia found Pone Fa’amausili who was able to ride the tackle from Ardie Savea with his first touch and offload to Isi Naisarani. Naisarani then passed to Meakes who scored next to the post. Meakes had only been on for a short time but he made some important contributions after coming on. The Hurricanes led 26 to 14 with 15 minutes to go.

After the restart and with the Huricanes on attack, Ross Haylett-Petty with a pick and go from the ruck gained 35 metres. After losing some ground, a good run from Campbell Magnay saw the Rebels get back close to the 22 but Reece Hodge knocked on again. A nice wrap around play saw Jack Maddocks put Marika Koroibete into space but Beauden Barrett was able to stop Koroibete five metres from the line.

The Rebels were able to turn the ball over from a five metre scrum a short time later. A great pass from Billy Meakes to Jack Maddocks and then a thirty metre pass from Maddocks found Hodge in space on the wing and he went over for the try. Cooper just missed the conversion and the Hurricanes were leading 26 to 19 with eight minutes to go.

Jordie Barrett was tackled without the ball and Jordie kicked a penalty goal from 42 metres. Quade Cooper then had a shot at goal to earn the Rebels a bonus point, but he missed from almost directly in front, much to the delight of the Wellington crowd.

The Hurricanes ended up winning 29 – 19 despite conceding 12 penalties to the Rebels three. The Australian conference has now turned into a log jam.

The Game Changer

The game changer wasn’t one player or one incident, it was the first twenty two minutes where the Hurricanes ran riot. Where after scoring four tries led 26 points to nil.


It was a game of two halves so there was no clear standout for the entire match. Particularly in the first half Vaea Fifita, Asafo Aumua, Beauden Barrett and Wes Goosen were very good for the Hurricanes. In the second half, in particular, Matt Philip, Isi Naisarani, Will Genia and Reece Hodge were heavily involved. I will pick Aumua who made a number of good runs and will leave Will Genia having nightmares.

Wallaby Watch

As noted Matt Philip, Isi Naisarani, Will Genia and Reece Hodge were good in the second half. Quade Cooper also did some nice things, although the missed penalty attempt at the end cost the Rebels a bonus point. Billy Meakes obviously didn’t like being benched, because he made a number of impactful runs when he came on.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Hurricanes 29

Tries: Ngani Laumape, Beauden Barrett, Wes Goosen, Vaea Fifita

Conversions: Beauden Barrett 3/4

Penalty goals: Jordie Barrett 1/1

Rebels 19

Tries: Matt Philip, Billy Meakes, Reece Hodge

Conversions: Quade Cooper 2/3

Penalties: Reece Hodge 0/1, Quade Cooper 0/1

Cards: None


  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Scott, you’ve got to wonder where the hell that team was in the first 20 minutes. I find it interesting that at the start of the season it was all about the Rebels backs and the forwards being a weakness but it’s almost the other way round.

    I think the 10 is a real conundrum for Cheika. On current form you’d really be looking for a third option as both WC and BF are making more mistakes than good things.

    I’m just happy my canes held on and I thought their defence was outstanding at times

    • Bobas

      Wade Cooper?

      I’d have a 3rd fly half in the squad and Hegarty pips Lilo purely for versatility and development.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s and KRL, up early there old boy. Well it really was a game of two halves, that old adage hey, but boy definitely applied here. My random points whilst drinking coffee and eating fruit muffins toasted with lashes of Lurpak!:
    – The first 20 mins for the Rebs was appalling. Missed tackles and being caught out of position defensively killed them. Don’t get me wrong the Hurricanes played well, but the Rebs poor defence made the Canes look better than they probably were.
    – The rest of the first half was probably not worth commenting on, other than the Rebs started to wake up and hold a degree of parity.
    – Second half was a different story. The Rebs obviously received a fairly heft ass reaming in the sheds from Wessell’s and puled their finger out. Their defence was holding, and their attack was a lot more penetrative.
    – The Canes seemed to take their foot of the gas, and then started having a bit of Aus SR form, with missed tackles, dropped passes, and passes going out over the side line.
    – Interesting to see that the Rebs scrum, which was always believed to be suspect, proved to be a real weapon. The Canes were very lucky in the second half not to have a yellow card. IMO they should have.
    – Meakes came on and was out to prove a point, and prove a point he did, with great impact and lots of yards gained.
    – Genia looked to be a lot more settled in the second half.
    – Cooper had an ok game. Some real sublime play with some occasional errors. Which is about the norm for Cooper (but having now watched the Tahs game as well, he out performed Foley).
    – The Rebs line out wasn’t as dominant as it usually was, but the scrum was farking great.
    – The Canes sensed the momentum shift, and finally pulled their finger out to close out the game.
    – If there first 20 mins non-existent play from the Rebs had been less this could have been a down to the wire contest.
    – Well done to the Canes, when they put it together they are sublime.
    – Rebs have some work to do still. But when their back and forwards combine well in attack they can make any team suffer. Pity it is only for periods of time.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Keith Butler

      Just finished our Sunday brekky poached eggs on toast with lashing of tomato sauce and off course coffee. A beautiful day in the Apple Isle a lot different to the pile of poo dished up in the first 20 odd mins by the Rebs last night. As you say Rebs pack take the kudos leaving the backs in their wake.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep that scrum was really good.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, Agree with the YC. I think the Canes were lucky there. I know a lot here are saying Meakes is only looking good because he’s outside Cooper and Genia but I disagree, I think he’s looking very good. I still rate Kerevi higher but he’s certainly up there.
      I think the issue with Cooper is that Cheika can use the negatives to argue against having him. While Foley has a many he can go back to the mantra of “steps up when needed” even if it’s bullshit. TBH I think you need a 3rd option as neither of them are doing that much.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah concur. I am hoping the last 6 weeks brings in a bit of focus. Foley was absent for the whole last half, where as Cooper was still there doing his thing. He impressed in Defence, I am not sure what his missed tackle count was, but compared to Foley from this round would have to be better. I watched Foley miss thre in 10 minutes.
        I was convinced the Canes were going to get a yellow. The warning waas pretty stern, then nothing.
        How much do you think Barrett paid out in beers last night due to those two hospital passes?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I would say lots. Fuck I would have punched him

        • Brisneyland Local

          Especially with the dumb smirk he gave him twice after it happened.

        • Who?

          Two warnings, BLL… About 10 minutes apart.
          I didn’t see it as a game of two halves. The Canes had 20 minutes, the Rebels had 50, and it was even for 10. Three bad reads in defence from Koroibete on set piece, just not good enough. Swap him out for Hodge on the wing (and Meakes at 12), and that’s a totally different defensive line, potentially a totally different outcome.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEah forgot about the second warning.
          Agree, Hodge to wing, Sauce to FB. Meakes to 12 sounds like a very strong back line.

  • Bernie Chan

    The first 20 looked like an opposed light training run…no tackling!
    Koroibete is a liability in defence…he rushes up-and-in and is caught on the outside often. The Barrett try was a classic example…yet Cheika keeps picking him? Not sure he is a Test standard winger.
    Nic Berry probabaly too lenient…should have shown the Canes a yellow card for repeated infringements. at the scrum and ruck/mauls.
    BL…at least the Rebels didn’t do the second half fade out again…but the can’t give any team a 26 point start…?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep the second half was a lot better. No team can afford to give anyone a 26 point head start. Perhaps except the Saders!
      What were your thoughts on DHP’s first game back?

      • Bernie Chan

        Hard to judge, and I think he just needs more game time…during that 20 minute period where the Canes ran riot, he was caught out defensively. Laumape beat him but I would expect that most fullbacks caught flat footed would be made to look foolish by Laumape in that situation….jeez Laumape must be close to the form NZ #12?
        DHP also defended outside of Koroibete a bit…and that cruels just about anybody, as Koroibete always rushes up and leaves the defensive ‘winger’ isolated. Invariably the defensive ‘winger’ faces a 2-v-1…Why do Cheika and Wessels deploy Koroibete in this manner?
        Rebels look better with Meakes at #12, so Hodge might need to move out one to #13 if DHP stays at fullback….?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would almost be tempted to play Hodge onthe wing. in place of Koroibete. He makes some yards in attack, but is always caught out defensively. Mind you the Canes player that recieved two hosital passes from Barrett, copped a couple of big hits from koroibete. I think the Barrett boy was shouting drinks last night. Both of those could have ended up ugly.

        • Bernie Chan

          Koroibete has an “all-or-nothing” approach to defence.
          Hodge may not be as quick as some other wingers, but a decent all-round game…and a booming kick.
          Was a nice (bit risky with his back to the defence…) long left-to-right cutout pass from Maddocks(?) for Hodge’s try…is Maddocks a lefty…?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am liking Hodge more and more every day. That kick he took in the first half was only just off, but if accurate would have been a goal from 65m out.

        • Bernie Chan

          Hodge is being damned by his versatility….Cheika and Wessels move him to-and-fro. Wish they’d let him settle in a position. Big body, decent hands and not exactly slow…run Meakes at #12 and Hodge at #13…and let him play #13 for a few games. Hodge did well at fullback, but DHP needs to be in the Rebels XV.
          I don’t think Koroibete is justifying a starting winger spot, so he misses out altogether as he can’t play anywhere but winger.

        • Who?

          Thought it was English who threw that long ball, and thought it was thrown facing that way because of where he received the ball himself..?

      • Scott Rea

        To be honest RHP probably did more than DHP.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Fair call.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      tend to agree on the YC, I think one was warranted

  • Keith Butler

    Have to admit that when we went 26 -0 down I was so angry/frustrated at the pathetic performance I switched off. I was fully expecting a 50 point+ hiding. Worst defence in the first 20 odd mins i’ve seen from the Rebs and that’s saying something. Laumape is a great centre, the best 12 in NZ in my book but he has legs FFS you won’t stop him head on by going at the chest, he’s too strong. The Goosen try was the clincher for me. Koribete, who should not be in the Rebs starting XV let alone G&G, comes flying in off his wing and does sweet FA the Canes get an unopposed run in. Saw the last 10 mins and wondered what had happened. QCs missed conversion that would have given a bonus point could be very costly in the run in. We have to play the Tahs and Reds at home which is an advantage but the other have 3 domestic games. Touch and go that we make the finals let alone head the conference. Sunwolves away a must win game.

    • Brisneyland Local

      I am hoping that these fade outs are becoming a less and less thing. The only positive thing for the Rebs is that the Tahs, Reds and Sunwolves are just as inconsistent as we are. So at worst it is a 50/50 call for all those matches. I am hoping the Rebs can get it done.

  • Custard Taht

    The Rebels this year are showing similar problems to last year. I think the brakes need to be applied with regards to Wessels. He has shown that he has potential to be a great coach, but right now, he has a ways to go before being close to recognising that potential.

    It is always tough for a coach who previously did a good job with a lesser team, to step up when the team has far more talent. As it stands, Wessels is doing an average job, and the Rebels are significantly under performing.

    With the momentum they are carrying, they will be lucky to make the finals. Their remaining Aus conference games are going to be interesting and they are vulnerable. They can consider themselves lucky they have already played the Brumbies twice.

    • Keith Butler

      Very true about the Brumbies CT. Apart from the Sunwolves any team could win the conference, they are all consistently inconsistent. Bonus points could be a big factor. QCs miss last night could be costly.

      • Custard Taht

        That miss could indeed be the difference maker.

        The inconsistency problem isn’t just an Aus conference thing either. The Saffa conference is infected with the same problem, and really so is the Kiwi conference, less the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

        The overall Super Rugby ladder reads:

        1. Crusaders
        2. Hurricanes
        Hit enter 100 times
        The rest of the competition.

  • Nutta

    Naisi keeps getting stronger each week. He has introduced a small shake, almost a shimmer in his shoulders just prior to the D-line which is introducing a fraction of doubt into the Defenders and is getting him an extra metre after contact. MattyP won’t be selected for the Bill (pending injuries) but he may consider himself unlucky as at nearly any time in the past 3 campaigns he would probably have made it on current form. Reece Hodge continues to reinforce himself as an inclusion in the Wobbs for his alround usefulness. Although I wish he would just declare for 12 and own it. Yes Yes that puts Meek&Mild in a bother and so won’t happen at the Rebs, but the guy well-suits 12 especially in the current environments of 12.

    You just cannot give a team – let alone a good team – that much of a head-start and hope to be a contender.

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