The Rebels ended their season with another punishing loss, this time 59-8 as the Chiefs inflicted another humiliating loss to end another losing season.
It was all or nothing for the Melbourne Rebels tonight. Earlier in Invercargill the Highlanders rolled the Waratahs to go to 36 points on the ladder, taking the virtual 8th spot away from the Rebels but this heavy loss ended their hope of an historical playoff berth.
Despite a promising start of the season and an impressive roster, the Rebels closed another season with more losses than wins.
The Chiefs came into this match needing a bonus point win and a good boost of their for/against. They got both 5 points and a +51 to give themselves the best options possible in the finals.
The Rebels were their worst enemy in the first half when they gave away three tries to the Chiefs. In the second half the Rebels were completely out played by the Chiefs.
The return of the warrior:
At the 8th minute the Rebels had the first opportunity to put some points on the scoreboard. Albeit captain Haylett-Petty decided to go for the 5 pointer but they lost the line-out.
A shiver went through the backs of the spectators 2 minutes after when Koroibete and Stevenson collided. The Rebel dropped to the ground shaking his legs, fortunately Koroibete managed to stand up again after a couple of worrying minutes. He obviously did not return.
At the 13th minute the first real opportunity for the Chiefs and the first try for the New Zealanders. Debreczeni caught a Cooper’s kick, broke the line and the ball went quickly through the hands of the Chiefs with Sam Cane finishing off under the posts. 0-7.
Four minutes later the Rebels had another penalty from a kickable position and this time DHP asked Hodge to go for the points. The powerful boot didn’t failed and the Melburnians got one back.
Cooper gifted another try to the Chiefs with a second botched kick. The grubber bounced into Stevenson’s legs and the winger ran 50 metres unopposed to cross the chalk. 3-14 with the conversion.
Stevenson celebrates his first try:
The game could have turned ugly minutes after when the Debreczeni showed his former team how to execute a midfield grubber, unfortunately for the visitors their forwards couldn’t control the ball and the dangerous attack ended up in a defensive scrum for the hosts 10 metres from their try line.
A good passage of play from the Rebels was nullified by an offensive penalty 5 minutes to the half time. The Chiefs were able to regroup and clear their 22.
The half came to an end with the Chiefs third try when Stevenson intercepted a ball thrown by Hodge and ran towards the sticks. Boshier helped him and touched down with ease.
The Rebels paid a high price for their errors with 3 Chiefs tries being served on a silver plate.
First half score: Rebels 3 – Chiefs 21
The Chiefs came out from the sheds firing and, like a boxer, inflicted a series of punches to their opponent on the ropes.
After just three minutes into the second half the Chiefs scored the fourth try. In this occasion the Chiefs constructed it with fine ball handling and Wainui had the easy task to touch the pill down over the chalk.
Sowakula showed fine handling skills and created space in the middle for Lienert-Brown and the visitors had their 5th 5 pointer 8 minutes into the second half. The Chiefs centre ran 40 meters with only one boot.
The Chiefs showed no mercy and went all the way just two minutes after, Alaimalo opened up with a great kick, Manu collected it and served Stevenson as the winger claimed his second try.
Former Rebels Debreczeni got another try thanks to Weber breaking the line and cutting into the middle of the defence.
Meakes came close to score at the 60th minute, but he lost possession of the ball trying to touch it down over the line.
The Rebels were able to celebrate 7 minutes later thanks to hard worker Matt Philip.
The Chiefs wasn’t going to let the home team having another go and McKenzie and Stevenson scored try number 8 and 9 for the Hamiltonians with Stevenson marking his first hat-trick in Super Rugby.
The final siren was a relief for the Rebels and their faithful.
Final Score: Melbourne Rebels 8 – Chiefs 59
The Game Changer
The third Chiefs try after the half time siren was a killer for the Rebels. The half could had finished on a more manageable 3-14, but Hodge’s pass collected by Stevenson and converted in a 5 pointer by Boshier was a blow to the hosts’ morale.
The G&GR MOTM
Stevenson was a constant danger for the Rebels, but the backs were able to dominate the game thanks to the great work of their forwards. Retallick return after his wrist injury in round 6 was excellent. Although our MOTM is All Black Sam Cane.
Very few Rebels’ played a game worth remembering. The less disappointing was Isi Naisarani, who recently qualified for the Green and Gold. He definitely deserves a call from Michael Cheika.
Score & Scorers
Melbourne Rebels (3):
Conv.: Cooper 0/1
Pen.: Hodge 1/1
Chiefs 59 (21):
Tries: Stevenson (3), Cane, Boshier, Wainui, Linnet-Brown, Debreczeni, McKenzie
Conv.: Debreczeni 5/6, McKenzie 1/2
Cards & citings