It’s been another close match-up to round off Round 5 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at the Sydney Cricket Ground. NSW Waratahs fired off with two tries on the board in the 1st 40 where they led comfortably at half-time (14-6), while the Melbourne Rebels made up some lost time late in the 2nd half. However, a few finishing mistakes, poor throw-ins, and lost penalty chances ruined Rebels’ late resurgence with a five-point loss (24-19).
Unlucky from the Rebels, who brings a brilliant defensive shape when it comes, to their impressive forward pack for a start. They racked up some winning penalties that made the most of successful three-point goals as a safe pair of hands. And the Rebels were able to build some momentum over time, where they bounced back late thanks to Cabous Eloff on the tighthead front row in the 2nd half. They were so close to pipping the Waratahs in the last minute, but the Rebels couldn’t justify their messy finishing, which led to several missed opportunities before it was too late.
And hats off to the Tahs with the win they deserve once again tonight as the home team. We love how the Tahs were patient with the ball on hand, where they took advantage of the Rebels’ slow start & got ahead early with two big scores in the 1st half by Lalakai Foketi & Will Harris. Alex Newsome extended the Tahs winning margin in the 55th minute from the backline, while the Rebels began to close into their radar late in the 2nd half. But the Tahs knew one or two things the Rebels aren’t good at, and that is the finishing where the away team blew their chances away even with the penalty in place, before they defended well & kicked the ball into touch after the full-time siren.
So the Tahs will head off to Brisbane where they will battle against the Queensland Reds in another State of Origin rivalry match-up next Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium. And the Rebels will return home at AAMI Park on Friday night v Fijian Drua.
Tom Banks was outstanding last night at full-back for the Brumbies, where he’s got so much pace and physicality when he has the ball on hand. He credits the back end of the Rebels’ poor start that allowed his forward pack to build the momentum, so Banks and his backline can get around the opposition through the gate with patience over time. And when you look at the support players around him, it’s amazing to play around and be in-line through the channels before Banks wrapped this up quick and easy, whether it’s through an assist or a TRY himself!! We’ll wait and see if he can translate this Super Rugby form into International level for the Wallabies later this year.
Then look over his shoulder when it comes to team-mate Tom Wright on the right-wing in the Brumbies No.14 jersey, as he accrued two tries throughout his full 80-minute spell. He has the same characteristics and traits to burn, like Banks, with some rugby league touch, having run around and communicated well when there were numbers around him. Once these support players fed the ball to him, Tom knows what to do to finish the job and he tormented the Rebels defense into shreds. He’s such another outstanding player to watch, who has everything to unpack & execute within attacking football from the wing.
And Matt Toomua was blessed with a couple of returning stars to the Rebels last night despite the loss, especially when they made up some lost time after the break. Not only did he help them grab some extra points when converting inside the two goal posts, but he also ran a lot before he planned out the attack with the ball on hand, that saw sub loose forward Richard Hardwick struck the Rebels 2nd big score within 10-15 mins to go. It’s just a poor first 40 that left the Rebels too late to catch up while the Brumbies extend their lead, even though it was over 86 minutes of play. Toomua is an important Rebels player to get along nonetheless, as he looks to help them climb out of the bottom as this Super Rugby Pacific season continues.
It’s been a long time coming after 287 days, as Melbourne Rebels get to play at home in Round 2 of the Super Rugby Pacific v Western Force at AAMI Park. The first 20 minutes may be quiet for both teams, with the Force up ahead early in the first half, while Rebels just took the one three-point goal. But it’s the away team (Western Force) who found it too easy to nail down v Rebels by 25 points, 3-28.
The Force looked stronger than ever off the back of their 2021 season, even though they were so close to upsetting the Brumbies with the narrow loss last week in Canberra. They showed patience and teamwork for the majority tonight that led to a couple of successful big points, having dug deeper after the first 20 minutes of play when the Rebels lacked their attacking fire & possessed messy discipline. That’s how the Force took control of this game with Tim Anstee onboard with the first-half TRY. And they continued to increase their winning margin after half-time through Kyle Godwin via the penalty scrum feed, where the Force wrapped this up comfortably through another five-pointer touch score by sub utility back, Byron Ralston.
Meanwhile, the Rebels always know how to get the ball rolling defensively. They won a few penalties along the way including the three-point goal between the sticks from Matt Toomua at fly-half. However, they made plenty of ill-disciplinary mistakes, mainly full-back Reece Hodge, who received a double yellow card that turned into red. And the Rebels were also disorganized when trying to get the job done with the ball on hand despite the winning penalties, which is disappointing to reflect through a 25-point loss after full-time.
Rebels will now head off to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, QLD on Friday night v Fijian Drua where they both seek their first victories of 2022. And the Force will host their first home game this year at HBF Park in Perth, also on a Friday night local time v Queensland Reds, which is straight after the conclusion of Drua v Rebels match-up.
Michael Wells put in a great shift tonight on the blindside for Melbourne. Where he was blessed by a brilliant fire off. Thanks to the backline who took the pressure off his forward line. As well as the build up defense that gave themselves chances.
The word chances mean a lot of control every time they have the ball. Having benefited a great offload via the scrummaging. And used these Waratahs weaknesses to get the Rebels side ahead.
His team may have suffered lost penalties along the way. Which did see two red cards. But it does not mean that the Rebels would go down. Instead they never gave up with the build up base. As well as the opportunities given with the ball. And used it wisely to get maximum points on the board. Before they hold off till the end.
He was a great contributor to the Rebels attack tonight. Where Matt was involved a lot more going forward. Such as working closely with Joe Powell via the offload. As well as a series of penalty kicks into goal.
Especially within a few minutes into the first half. Thanks to a brilliant break from Frank Lomani. Got his forwards hold down Jack Maddocks alone. Before Matt unleashed that cross kick towards the short left side. And saw Stacey Ili collect that early touch points on the board.
It goes to show that the Rebels plan very well. Every time they were given plenty of chances with the ball. And never wasted a single minute of it. The only thing that lets them down is the ill-discipline. Which is something he is not happy about. Having seen two of his players received a straight red. But in the end he accepts the win & the derby cup v Waratahs. Despite not being accepted into the finals this year.
This man was so good in that Waratahs midfield tonight. Where he assisted two early tries in the first half. In which helped them stay in the game towards half-time.
He credits the Rebels weaknesses via the ill-discipline. Especially when they were patient going forward. Thanks to the influential skipper at half-back from Jake Gordon. It allowed some time to warm up and wait for the ball. Before Foketi has great control. And found his man via a close distance to help complete the TRY.
So much pace and physicality through the channels. Having seen him break past the Rebels chain via some space. Which allows the communication to flow. But unfortunately his side still fall short. After a couple of lost penalties punished against them. And that prevented them from crossing the finish line first in the end. It has been a tough 2021 Super Rugby AU for this side. But they better move on towards the Trans-Tasman leg.