The Melbourne Rebels one & only Finals journey has come to a end with back-to-back late tries as Hurricanes now off to host the Chiefs for next Saturday’s semi in Wellington

by Sports Benches

After 14 years of existence including a huge on-field fight in their final ever campaign despite its poor and fading financial position, the Melbourne Rebels exited the first week of finals this year with their head held high thanks to two late 2nd half tries off the back of Lachie Anderson’s superb double finish off the right as well as Carter Gordon’s continued emergence from start to finish in the starting 10 jersey. The real winner though you’re looking at is the No.1 ranked Hurricanes at Sky Stadium who was both unstoppable and also too good all along to comfortably advance into the 2nd semi-final next Saturday v the Chiefs back at the same place but on slightly later time during the night. First 40 was an arm wrestle where Rebels had the early headstart off the penalty conversion for the first 20 odd minutes before the Canes finally got the ball rolling with two converted big points by tighthead forward Pasillo Tosi and right winger Joshua Moorby going into half-time, 14-6. Nothing much happened later on other than the Canes’ continued scoring spree with tries mainly being shared across a few of their forward pack. Yes, as said from above, the Rebels did find a way to collect a couple by the time elimination was almost certain before Hurricanes didn’t mind scoring a few more towards full-time with a excellent two-try cameo by their substitutes, 47-20.

So the first two quarter-finals have now been ticked off where the first semi on Friday night sees the Hurricanes return to their home turf at Sky Stadium and the team to beat will be the 4th placed Chiefs, who had an outstanding first half last night with an easy win to hang in there & keep that Finals hopes alive (43-21) – despite seeing their reserves fall off the pace in the last 40 v Queensland Reds in Waikato. The 2nd half of Quarter-Finals will soon finish tonight to make up the other semis game where one will face either Hurricanes or Chiefs for the Grand Final, with Blues (2nd) currently playing the Fijian Drua (7th again) at Eden Park in Auckland right now followed by ACT Brumbies (3rd) v Highlanders (6th) at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

Gotta say Brayden Iose put in such a physical battle to not only nail down defensively but also crack the code in return with one TRY for himself not long after half-time in the Hurricanes 8 position. He’s the guy who lived up to his potential having unpacked a great eye off his towering height while digging deeper with the ball that got the best out the Canes’ TRY-scoring opportunities left, right and centre as all of this is what made the Canes dominate this competition with an early rest to the bench. Meanwhile, Jordie Barrett also did so well at first five-eighth in the Hurricanes midfield 12 where he knows where to find his man out wide either way as long as there’s numbers in there that puts his team on the map big time by playing off the 10 of Brett Cameron. He can also kick when required as seen on occasions before while bringing it back to protect his forwards when it comes to the defensive contribution as they do to help him through the ruck that led to more and more opportunities with the ball, so he can get the best out of this through the gate. Communication along with a full 80 performance including a strong bench would hopefully see the Canes at last get the past the semis next Saturday as the last time they’ve played in a Grand Final was back in 2016 where they’ve beaten the Lions from Johannesburg on home soil, 20-3.

Lastly, Lachie Anderson is the man who lightens up every time he steers home to score the TRY off the wide right for the Rebels including the last ever two in the team’s last ever match earlier this afternoon. We know he’s grown a lot in the search of discovering his best on-field firstly at home through the junior and early senior ranks in Sydney before he was a regular in the 7s for some time and then made a name for himself by going strength to strength with the ball on hand while chasing down the opposition for a couple of seasons in the XVs – despite no Wallabies call-up yet at 26 as sure he will be a great addition for any of the four Australian Super Rugby teams if Lachie wishes to continue in Super Rugby here next season.

And on the Rebels, it’s been a pleasure watching you play on the field by fighting for the Melbournians on what you do and give back best for Rugby Union in the area after 14 years. It’s not easy and also sad to see that Melbourne professional part of Rugby Union go but it is what it is as wish the players & coaching staff as well as the behind the scenes admin and medical stuff all the best wherever they go – hopefully we will see most of them up staying within here at another club than overseas.

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