Stormers defeat the Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Stormers defeat the Rebels

Stormers defeat the Rebels

The gap between the Rebels and the South African opposition isn’t closing.

A terrific defensive effort and a clinic execution in attack gave the Stormers a deserved 41-24 win in Melbourne to end their Australasian tour.

The Stormers’ were without Springboks Kolisi, Etzebeth and du Toit, but could still outmuscle their opponents and outscore them five tries to three.

The Rebels could not unlock the Stormers’ defence and were often forced to kick the ball away in open play.  Genia and Cooper weren’t as usual and couldn’t spark the back line.  The Rebels pack were simply outclassed by their more physical opponents, and could not unlock the backline stars.

The Match

First half

The Stormers were the first team on the board after just 3 minutes thanks to a piece of individual brilliance from winger Leyds who collected a loose ball in midfield and catch the Rebels defence completely off-guard.

With both team incapable of gaining meters with the ball in hand, a series of kicks in open play and handling errors frustrated the spectators until the 23rd minute when finally the scoreboard moved again.

A penalty at the line out, the second in 5 minutes, gave Quade Cooper an easy kick 25 meter shot dead in front of the sticks and he didn’t miss.

The Rebels conceded straight back after the kick off a very kickable penalty from the opposite position and Du Plessis pushed the scores out to 10 – 3 Stormers.

Youngster Semisi Tupou, in his run on debut, had a chance to score when Cooper directed a kick to him 2 meters from the try line, but the winger couldn’t control the ball and the Stormers gained a scrum at the 5 meters.

The Rebels’ scrum was perfect in forcing a penalty on the opposition but after 13 phases the home team couldn’t break the defensive line.

First half score: Rebels 3 – Stormers 10

Second Half

After just 40 seconds Hodge intercepted a loose pass from Du Plessis and scored untouched under the posts to draw the scores after Coopers’ simple conversion.

The Stormers lost their number 8 on the re-start, who was taken out of the pitch with a suspected broken ACL. His replacement, Augustus was soon on the board with his first Super Rugby try when he collected a nice pass from the Stormers fullback, flying past Genia on the way to the line.

The Rebels defence was again caught off-guard and veteran Springbok De Allende made it 3 for the visitors within 2 minutes from Augustus’ try.

A poor restart from Cooper gave the Storms a scrum right on the halfway line.  The Storworkedworkd some magic in open play, scoring their third try in 9 minutes.  The game was slipping away for the Rebels, and fast.

Even the cross bar favoured the visitors. a Penalty kick right on the half-way line from Stander’s bounced on the bar, then open the line.

Genia put the Rebels back on the scoreboard with a swift movement from a line out to give his team a chance.  Magnay’s try with 4 minutes to play gave more hope to the home supporters, but it was Nel intercept five pointer to end the Rebels’ comeback.

The Game Changer

After Hodge try at the start of the second half the momentum seemed to favour the Rebels, but three tries in less than ten minutes handed the match to the Stormers. Augustus, De Allende and Nel were clinical in their execution.


The Stormers front row ruled the game, hooker Mbonami won several penalties for his team at the breakdown, but it was captain Kitshoff to inspire his team to a very impressive defensive effort.

Wallaby Watch

Very difficult to find a standout Wallaby prospect in a losing side, Tupou had a positive run on debut, but he is a couple of years away of being called in the Green and Gold.  Meakes, normally pushing for a spot in the Wallabies, wasn’t as impressive as usual.  Cottrell had a solid game, but he was outmuscled by his counterparts.   The player that should be on Cheika’s radar is number 8, Isi Naisarani.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Melbroune Rebels 24 (3):

Try: Hodge, Genia, Magnay
Conv.: Cooper 3/3
Pen.: Cooper 1/1

Stormers 41 (10):
Try: Nel (2), Leyds, Augustus, De Allende
Conv.: Du Plessis 3/3, Stander 2/2
Pen.: Du Plessis 1/1, Stander 1/1

Cards & citings




  • James Pettifer

    In summary, the Rebels sucked. Pretty much all of them played their worst game of the year. The team just looked like it had no spark.

    Yes, they had their plans disrupted but threw away multiple tries, the whole team forgot how to tackle for 10 minutes and there were so many unforced errors.

    On to next week. Hopefully this is an aberration not a turning point.

  • Cameron Rivett

    Sadly this will be the game Cheika uses to justify Foley starting ahead of Quade. Really though the Rebels were defeated up front.

    The Stormers defence ensured they couldn’t get any go forward ball and their fast backs were able to convert pressure into points. With Koroibete being basically absent and Tupou no replacement for Maddocks, there wasn’t enough strike power for the Rebels to capitalise on what opportunities presented themselves.

    • Huw Tindall

      Maybe Foley is better behind a struggling pack which isn’t on the front foot? After all he has played his a career at the Tahs!!

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Lol.. . But yeah Cooper still created 3times as many opportunities than Foley ever does, and that was behind a well beaten pack.

    • Onside

      In Tupos defence, he atleast can tackle effectively unlike Maddocks

  • Kevino

    Thanks Diago

    1) Korobiete can go straight to Tulsa and get on the next plane to France, has not shown up at all this season. We lost Sefa to the Reds when we should have gave them Korobiete.

    2) Stormers really pushed the off side line all night, played on the edge and was really quick to rush up in defense.

    3) Meakes had butter fingers again, same as against the sharks. When his off it’s really off.

    4) Missed Maddox and Philip, Maddox would have finished two trys in the first half. With out Philip Jones and Coleman seemed less effective at the line out. RHP was solid just not in the same league as Philip.

    5) Big week training, and bring on the Tahs

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Koroibete has never shown up. Ever. He is a myth who does not know how to play rugby union. I would play Magnay over him, no question.

      Meakes has had that issue for a long time. Hodge should be 12 at least until Toomua is back. I like Meakes but he is not that good.

      • James Pettifer

        That’s not really fair on Koroibete. He took half of 2017 to get started and then scored 6 tries in 7 games in a heavily underperforming side. He was much weaker last year and has been awful this year. I do wonder whether the ridiculously confusing positional strategy that he has to follow for the Wallabies has just completely confused him and he has no idea what he should be doing or where. But in 2018/19 he has scored 5 tries compared to Maddocks scoring 17 of course noting that Maddocks is a more complete player (that is he can actually kick).

        Meakes has been great this year. Last night he was awful.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Koroibete can run hard, but even when he attacks well he concedes so many turnovers, he cannot kick at all and his defence is really really weak. And his attack has rarely shown up. I don’t think he was ever a good buy and I think Wessels messed up by keeping him and getting rid of Naivalu.

          Meakes is a good player. But a great player he is not. I don’t think he is as good as Hodge. But over the season Meakes has been extremely good.

        • James Pettifer

          I still think Koroibete looked good towards the end of 2017. He was scoring tries – 4 from his first 8 games with the Wallabies.

          Last year was less good 3 from 12 for the Wallabies and 4 from 13 with the Rebels and only 26 carries

          Sefa had an awful season last year though. And I can see why they kept Koroibete. Looks like it was the wrong call and I can’t see him in the starting line up when DHP and Maddocks return

          Meekes and Hodge to date are just a different class of player. Hodge is 4 years younger and has 33 Australia caps. Meekes’s performance to date this year (other than Friday) would have put him in thoughts for the wider squad.

        • Adrian

          Really good analysis James

  • Huw Tindall

    Rebels had no plan B in this game. The usual flat at the line game doesn’t work when your pack isn’t going forwards. Should have kicked for territory.

    One highlight was Hodge at 15. Good reading of the game and a great covering tackle to deny a try. Could do worse at 15 in a post Folau Wallabies.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      They scored three tries, and it realistically should have been a fourth. Had Tupou caught that kick then the match could have been very different, such are the margins.

      The issue for me was how poor the Rebels’ kicking game was when things started going poorly in the second half. Genia in particular had some really poor ones.

      At the end of the day the Stormers were just too good, but that referee really irked me. Not once did he penalise the Stormers for playing the ball without clearly releasing the tackled player. Credit to the Stormers in that they did the Richie special and played to the way that the game was refereed, which is the intelligent play that Aussies aren’t capable of anymore, but it was just shit refereeing.

      • Who?

        Fraser was the ref. Didn’t impact the result, and he’s not Glen Jackson, but… Where did the good Kiwi refs go? I just don’t like the way he refs, he always annoys me.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Where did all the good refs go? I like Marius, Rasta and Gardner. Just don’t allow Saffa refs to referee teams in South Africa.

        • Who?

          Rasta… I like his conversation tonight, but he needs to swallow the whistle! Well, from what I’ve seen so far…
          Don’t much like Marius.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The international field will be fairly barren once Barnes retired.

          One of the greats. Understands all facets of the game, highly professional and fair, and a great communicator.

          I do like Gardner too, although he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

        • Who?

          Completely agree about Barnes. Completely. Love watching games he refs – no one ever is in any doubt as to what’s going on. Definitely one where you just wish you could have the ref mic and nothing else! Walshy was similar.
          I can see why you like Rasta, in that he’s a good communicator. But he shouldn’t be reffing Saffa players. He only reffed one team last night.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yep they may as well just skipped the scrum and just handed the penalty to someone randomly….

    • Tim

      big concerns. No wallabies stepped up. No plan B

    • Who?

      No plan B is the full story.
      The Rebels had 70% of possession, but played lots of slow ball to pods. They’re trying to play a flat game, everything at the gain line, but when the ball’s slow, it means the support runners over run the ball, take the ball static, or passes get intercepted. We saw all three last night.
      Because the ball was so slow and the runners were so flat, they were consistently dominated in the contact. It wasn’t until about the 74th minute before the forward runners started to run from a little deeper, Ruru was starting to find a little more quick ball, and the result was domination of the contact at the gain line.
      The solutions required were to add second man backline plays (to drag the Stormers’ defensive line further upfield before skirting around, making them run further per tackle, and tire them), to run ‘same way’ forward runners as per the Reds the week before, add some more sniping from 9 (Genia didn’t run it much), and kick better (Hodge pointed out at half time that they often had 14 in the defensive line). These are all things the Rebels are capable of doing. They kicked excellently against the Reds. Genia can snipe (he’s scored tries in consecutive weeks running the ball. Admittedly off lineouts, but it’s in his skill set).
      Big items to work on this week will be their timing – they’re getting too flat, so passes aren’t sticking or they’re being intercepted – and hands (because they’ve dropped a lot of pill the last two weeks).
      They can turn it around, but it’s a good little test for Dave and his coaching staff. I don’t think they’re title contenders this year – they feel a year short (I said that to a mate before half time last night). They’ve got some growing to do. But they’ve got the capacity to do that growing, across the board, and that’s a great thing to watch. :-)
      Oh, and well done to the Stormers!!! They certainly deserved the win. Would’ve won last week if they’d been so clinical in converting their chances, because they didn’t have any more this week than last week. So good reward for improvement in one small area of the game (because it’s not like their defence has been poor).

      • Huw Tindall

        Excellent thoughts mate! Only consolation I’ll give the Rebels is they were missing Phillip and Rangi who have been key to the Rebels form, especially Phillip who is a Wallabies bolter IMO.

        Still, like the Tahs found out you need depth to go long in the tournament and whilst these changes were injury enforced it’s the same result.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think that they were that bad. They were unlucky not to be ahead after the first half, then just panicked and feel apart in the second half.

          It wasn’t a good performance, but I don’t think it was as bad as people are making out.

        • Who?

          I don’t think the change in personnel would’ve changed the result, though. No disrespect to those guys, they’re playing brilliantly, but the problem for the most part was tactical.
          Now, in the last year or so, we’ve seen accusations that Cooper doesn’t stick to the game plan. We’ve long heard that he plays too deep. Last night, he did neither of those things. He didn’t get deep until quite late in the game (and was effective when he did it). He didn’t deviate from the game plan until the game was gone. I think it’s a night of learnings for the coaching crew, and adjustment for the players.
          Not saying that Wessells and Berne were terrible, but their game plan didn’t work, they’re both young, they’ll learn. It certainly doesn’t hurt that, as Cottrell said, they’re facing the Tahs this week, and that’s a game without any issues in terms of motivation!

  • Keith Butler

    No complaints from me, the Stormers fully earned the win with a grea5 defensive effort in the 1st half. Thought we might get back into it scoring early in the 2nd half but the Stormers continued to dominate all areas and delivered a massive wake up call to the Rebs. The next few games will show if we’re good enough to make the finals. Over to you Dave Wessels.

  • Mart

    Solid game from Naisanrani.
    Finally a number 8 is firming up
    Stormers defense was on another level.
    Game actually very close, early stomers defense the difference.

  • Gipetto

    Tupou was a disaster; Magnay should have started. Quade’s perfectly weighted kick bounced off his chest. The Rebels forwards need to off-load in contact and Sanchez should let the odd pick n drive happen.


      Man Genia and Cooper were pulling their hair out after that performance by their forwards. Couldn’t get any contact dominance and the one short passage where Quade clearly took it upon himself to adjust the game plan and go wider seemed too be working. Maybe a msg from upstairs put a stop to it because they reverted straight back to the tight game!
      And Yep Topou had a shocker, bombed one try and knocked on ruining another huge chance from an impressive Genia, Cooper, Hodge attack. Not sure why Magnay didn’t start…..he seemed more comfortable against the big bodied Saffas when he came on. Tough game with too many mistakes/penalties and not enough forward domination to make up for it!

  • Bernie Chan

    Glad to read a story about an actual game…Wessels seemed very frank in his assessment…
    Possibly the worst game thus far for the Rebels…especially their pack?
    Can Koroibete justify a Wallas jersey on current form?

    • Keith Butler

      More to the point, can he justify a Rebels jersey. Tupou will learn from this experience and is the future.

      • Bernie Chan

        Yeh…Koroibete is another player that baffles. Cheika has given him a “rails run” in the past, but he is perhaps the poorest performing back in the Rebels. Was it the RA contract that compelled the Rebels to keep Koroibete, but release Saivalu?

  • Adrian

    Philip, Rangi, Maddocks and DHP would have helped, but probably not enough. I thought that the defensive pressure was test match standard. It effected those fringe guys (Meakes, Hodge, Cooper etc) a lot. Still they each did good things and more matches to go. Naisarini, Jones and Genia ok, but I can see why Genia isn’t a captain any more. English is fit and strong, but no test cantidate. Korebette not bad, just not good.

  • AllyOz

    This is not an anti Cooper post but I wonder what benefit they get using him as the last line of defence. At least if he defends in the line he gets a bit of cover from the players either side him and the loosies. I think they would be better keeping Hidge at the back in defence and keep Cooper in the front line. He is no longer the fastest player on the field either.


      Cooper has never been fast. Even early at the Reds Cooper and Duncan Paiaiia were known as the two slowest guys in the team! But anyways….. there are ALOT more guys with Far worse defensive records then Cooper at FB.

      • AllyOz

        I didn’t intend this to be an anti-Cooper or Cooper is poor defensively comment. I would agree that he isn’t the worst defender I have seen but I don’t think he is the best either, certainly I don’t think he is the best defensive fullback option at the Rebels, I think Hodge is that – although if Cooper is better at organising the back three in defence and counter then there is still an argument for him being there. I just felt after watching that game that Cooper would be better in the front line where, when he has to take on one of those bigger bodies, he has loose forwards that can assist him. The no longer the fastest on the field comment was hyberbole by the way.

        • Who?

          It’s an interesting question, and one that varies. He plays front line defence, and he’s in the backfield, too. The Rebels run Genia and Cooper at the back a fair bit, but Cooper’s made plenty of tackles in the front line, too.
          There’s definitely advantages on turnover ball, kick returns, etc in having Cooper at the back. I see more upside with Cooper in the backfield than Foley. But he’s definitely not the quickest out there, it’s more about organization and kicking.

        • AllyOz

          Anthony Faianga talked about him having a “quarterback” role – and joked that he did Quade’s defence – so I guess this allows him to do that better.

        • Gipetto

          Quade reads the play better than anyone else in the Rebels and is on hand when he anticipates a defensive failure. The front line defenders should not be letting the opposition through so regularly. If the opposition kicks he is the best equipped to counterattack or kick strategically.

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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