Rebels rolled by the Bulls - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Rebels rolled by the Bulls

Rebels rolled by the Bulls

Another loss for the Melbournians against a South African team may cost them a spot in the finals.

The Rebels’ game plan evolution is continuing in a dangerous way.  The team that was once set to dominate the Australian conference, and reach for the first time in his history, now looks like a distant memory.

In a mediocre display of rugby, the Bulls dominated the hosts in the second half, scoring points against a leaking defence, and were never challenged in their own 22, thanks largely to an inconsistent attack.

First half

The game started in the best way possible for the home team with Marika Koroibete crossing the chalk after only 8 minutes of play, but after only 2 minutes the visitors got one back thanks to Conral Henricks.  The Bulls soon took the lead after 17 minutes of play,  through a five-pointer by their flyhalf Handre Pollard.  From there the Bulls never looked back.

Genia scored an impressive try in the corner

Despite a good try Will Genia in the corner, the Bulls closed the first half on top by two points, with Cooper failing to convert the Genia conversion.

First Half score: Rebels 12 – Bulls 14

Second Half

The second half started as the first, with a Koroibete try that gave the lead to the home team.   The lead was short-lived with the Bulls came back strongly to score two unanswered tries that put the game away from Rebels reach.

First to score was Burger Odendaal, then Rosko Speckman. Handre Pollard closed it off with a penalty from 40 meters to put a buffer between the two team.

Speckman had an impressive game out wide

In the dying stages of the match, incumbent Wallabies Matt Tomoua made his debut for the Rebels, but he wasn’t able to make his mark on the game.  The final play summed up the half; Rebels earn a lineout on the Bulls 5m Line, after some wonderful lead-up play, only to miss the throw, and gift it back to the Bulls.

Finals score: Rebels 17 – Bulls 32

The wrap – up

Honestly, the Bulls could have won scored an even larger win  They wasted several opportunities with useless pick and goes in front of the posts, instead of opening up the ball and serve their un-marked wingers.  They bullied the REbels pack in the first half, which had them on the back foot.  The Bulls flat defence make it hard for Cooper to open up the backline.  The majority of Bulls points were scored from turnover ball, either aimless kicking, or a Rebels knock-on after countless phases.

The Rebels gave away countless possessions with kicks that ended nowhere or directly in the hands of the diligent South African backs. No sight of the expansive, aggressive game plan that saw the Rebels running the ball from everywhere in the first half of the season.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Rebels 17
Tries: Koroibete (2), Genia
Conversion: Cooper
Bulls 32
Tries: Hendricks, Specman (2), Odendaal
Conversion: Pollard (3)
Penalties: Pollard (2)



  • Custard Taht

    Wessels’ seat should be very hot and very uncomfortable. The rebs, despite the tahs having the most wallabies, have the most talented team, and Wessels is doing diddly squat with it. The rebs have under performed more than the tahs.

    I am calling it, stick a fork in the rebs, they’re done for the season. They have 4 games left, and the only one I see them winning is the Sunwolves, and even then I am not optimistic.

    The rebs should do a global search (not a reds style global search), but a genuine global search for a new coach.

    Wessels needs further development, and he won’t get what he needs at the rebs or in Australia.

    • Steve

      So often it seems to be the team with the most on-paper talent that underperforms. The Brumbies and Tahs dominated the talent pool in 09/10 but it was ultimately the Reds who came off better.

      The real winning teams always have that cohesiveness and absolute refusal to lose games even when they aren’t playing well.

      The Rebs just don’t look like that at the moment, while the Brumbies look more and more like it.

      • Garry

        Yes, went to the game. The Rebs backs stood very flat. QC needs runners to hit it at pace. The difference between Rebs and Reds ‘11.

    • Cameron Rivett

      Only last year it seemed like RA was interested in him as a potential future Wallabies coach. Yet they’ve got nothing to show for it, despite pouring literally millions of dollars into the Rebels and handing them the best players from two existing franchises they still can’t probably can’t make the finals for a second year in a row. Wessels has some seriously impressive backline set piece moves among other things, and I’m starting to wonder if he’d be better off as an assistant coach rather than a head.

      • Custard Taht

        I am a big fan of the NFL. Over there quite often the best head coaches had a failure as a 1st time head coach. They took a step back to a coordinator position for a few more years, then tried again as a head coach, with much more success. I think this could be the case with Wessels. If only McKenzie wasn’t lost to Aus rugby, he would have been a great mentor.

        But RA can’t bury their heads in the sand, the Rebs season is a massive disappointment, even if they scrape into the finals.


    I’m not sure what was harder, watching a stuttering Rebels team trying to gain the advantage line, or reading this oddly written article! Yes yes I’ve said it before but this was a cracker…..

    • Who?

      Hey mate, to be fair, it does say in the author’s bio…

      Enjoys writing in broken English, which should be read in a Franco Cozzo accent to render it more original

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Ahhh see now it all makes sense!

  • Gallagher

    Bring back Jordan Uelese, Adam Coleman, Isa Naisarani and Luke Jones AND add Matt Toomua and the Rebels will be fine. That was a second string forward pack that clearly couldn’t take the heat at that level…

    • Mart

      good point about the pack

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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