Rebels win final trial against Samoa

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Melbourne Rebels finished their preseason on a high, with an 85-0 win over Samoa.

Thirteen unanswered tries to the Rebels gave Melbourne a convincing win to finish their preseason.

Rookie Reece Hodge took just a minute to get the Rebels into the lead, scoring his first try for the club.

Less than four minutes later, halfback Ben Meehan had Melbourne’s second.

The scoring slowed after a frenetic opening five minutes 18 minutes later, the Rebels were in again.

Emerging fly half Jack Debreczeni showed his skills with a third in the 23rd minute to give the Rebels a 19-0 lead.

Two more tries in the next 10 minutes, including one to Jordy Reid, put the Rebels in complete control of proceedings.

Hodge had his second just shy of half-time, pushing his credentials as a potential Super Rugby debutant.

Tamati Ellison struck four minutes after half-time, with another from Jonah Placid putting the Rebels up 52-0.

A 60th-minute try to Tom English put the Rebels 57-0 up.

English had a second eight minutes later, with a Dan Hawkins splitting the double, taking the lead to 71-0.

A 77th minute Mick Snowden try stretched the lead to 78-0, before an 80th minute Dom Shipperley try sealed the 85-0 win. 

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said they wouldn't be getting too carried away by the scoreline, a stark contrast to their opening 59-7 loss to the Blues a fortnight ago.

"Two weeks ago we got absolutely hosed so we picked out good things there, picked out things we need to work on and this will be much the same," he said.

"(We've had) Two ends of the spectrum for the trials but most importantly we're getting combinations together. "

McGahan said a clean bill of health was the major positive for him heading into the season, with no injuries coming in the Samoa game.

Rising star Sefa Naiavalu is up to eight weeks away from returning ,while young halfback Nic Stirzaker is hopeful of a round one return from a shoulder reconstruction.

The Rebels kick off their Super Rugby season against the Force at nib Stadium on February 27.

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