Rebels come up short in Auckland - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Rebels come up short in Auckland

Rebels come up short in Auckland

The Melbourne Rebels fall short in Auckland, losing 36 – 30 to the Auckland Blues.

The Match

The Melbourne Rebels arrived to this match as Australian Conference leader, after their convincing win against the Cheetahs.  They were looking for their second ever win in New Zealand, and their fourth win away from AAMI for the first time in a season.

The Blues, which had a bye in Round 9, were determined to keep up the pace of the other kiwi teams, in the race for the most complicated ever play off system, in the history of the sport played in heaven.

First Half

The first points went to the Rebels through a Reece  Hodge try after only two minutes of play. The newcomer, playing at outside centre, was again impressive for the Melbourne outfit. Jack Debreczeni missed the conversion but slotted a penalty goal at the 11th minute to make it 8-0 for the visitors.

The Blues regain their composure and were brutal in their comeback: tries from forwards Parsons, Kaino and  Faumuina turned a 8 points deficit into a 9 point lead in the space of less than 15 minutes.

Another try, scored and converted by impressive flyhalf Ihaia West extended the Blues’ lead to 24-11.
However,  the Rebels were able to score a major before the final hooter to limit the damage and go into the shed only 6 points behind the home team.

Early on the board for the visitors: Reece Hodge

 Second half

The second half began with a try from the home team, scored by speedster winger Tevita Li after just 2 minutes of play.  The Rebels backs bizarre ball handling resulted in a 5 meter scrum for the Blues, and provided good field position to score.

Blues speedster Tevita Li

The Rebels regrouped quickly and were back into the Blues 22, but couldn’t transform pressure into points.   At the 52nd minute they conceded the sixth try of the match after West kicked a penalty into touch and the forwards pushed over.

Once again, the Rebels were able to compose, and go back into enemy’s territory.
In rapid succession sub backrower Fainga’a and home idol ‘Super’ Sefa Naivalu were over the chalk for the visitors. Naivalu’s try was a fine run that covered almost the entire length of the field and was applauded also by the home crowd.

Jack Debreczeni converted only one of the two tries and the scoreboard with 12 minutes to play saw the Rebels at a converted try distance from an historical win.

But unfortunately for the Rebels, an obstruction on their last play seconds from the final whistle stopped them only 5 meters short from the try line.

Final score: 36 – 30 to the Blues.

 The Wrap Up

The Melbourne Rebels were in search of history and almost made it, they came 5 meter short of it. They’ll return home with a deserved bonus point and with the confirmation that they are finally an 80 minutes team.

The Blues sweated over the victory mostly because they converted only 50% of their tries and missed another two penalties.

The Game Changer

Ihaia West try at the 30th minutes, just after a kick off from a Debreczeni penalty was a blow fro the Rebels’ morale. Despite the Rebels were able to reply with a try of their own before half time, the episode was a clear depiction of how crucial a restart can be.


Rieko Ione was impressive in any occasion he touched the ball. With his 62 meters gained was second only to Rebels’ Naivalu in this statistic and was a constant danger for the visitors.

Wallaby watch

From the players which aren’t already on Cheika’s radar, two players stood out: Reece Hodge and Jordy Reid. Unfortunately for the latter the wallaby’s backrow is very crowded, but the utility back could wear gold in the near future.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Blues 36 (24)
Tries: Parsons 14’, Kaino 19’, Faumuina 24’, West 31, Li 42’, Visinia 53’
Conversion: West 2/5, Francis 1/1
Penalties: West 0/1, , Francis 0/1

Reds 30 (18)
Try: Hodge 2’, Reid 39’, Fainga’a 65’, Naivalu 67’
Conversion: Debraczeni 2/4
Penalties: Debraczeni 2/2

Cards & citings





  • Rebels Ruck

    So many Rebels players lined up to miss tackles tonight, after their defence had been so impressive early in the season. The lineout held up ok but the scrum was under pressure. With Tomani and Weeks out of the side, the forwards were a bit under power, but McMahon, Jones, Thompson and Daly all put in to overcome their loss. Both Stirzacker and Debreczeni had quiet games, leading to little go forward in attack. The Rebels’ poor restarts finally cost them a try tonight, although they improved in the 2nd half. Super Sefa’s 95m try was a highlight too. The Rebels need to come back after the bye, hopefully with an almost full strength side, and put together consistent performances right across the park if they want to be finals contenders.

    • GTW

      Missed tackles are a problem right across Australian rugby right now. I watched the woeful Rebels effort and then endured a performance later by the Brumbies to match them. Little wonder we have a combined record against Kiwi sides this year of Played 14, won 2, drew 1, lost 11. We are struggling to match their skills with ball in hand and missing way too many tackles to kill their attacking momentum.

    • Keith Butler

      A game that we might have won in the last minutes but didn’t deserve to. Great character to come back but the Blues made it easier by assuming the game was won at 60 mins and virtually emptying their bench. 30 missed tackles tells its own story. Back when I played we were always coached to tackle round the legs – brings them down every time. Now too much emphasis on round the shoulder area. Lots of flailing arms from the Rebels last night. Thought our problem again was round 9,10 and 12 where as you say there was little or no go forward.

  • Mr Wobbly

    I thought the Rebels best were Smith, Jones, SMac and Hodge. Colby was pretty good when he came on. I thought Meehan should have been brought on much earlier but I guess it’s hard to drag the captain. The Blooze made far too many metres far too easily and looked like they could score from anywhere.

  • Nutta

    I agree with Rebels Ruck – simply too many missed tackles. The Rebs have all the ingredients but 1st up tackles is such a basic thing. Great effort guys but for fk-sake TACKLE and it was in the bag.

Melbourne Rebels

Diego Ghirardi is a rugby fanatic from Italy, living in Melbourne. Played on the wing, now mainly couch flanker or sideline halfback. Enjoys writing in broken English, which should be read in a Franco Cozzo accent to render it more original. In case you understand Italian, you can read his banters on or better not

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