Rebels break away to record fifth win of 2016

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

A Reece Hodge double has seen the Rebels defeat the Cheetahs 36-14 to record their fifth win of the season and sit on top of the Australian conference. 

The Rebels had their chances early as they dominated in attack with 85% of the possession in the opening 15 minutes but were unable to execute on the scoreboard.

It was the Cheetahs who made the most of their chances, opening the scoring in the 18th minute through a rolling maul try from hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld.

It didn’t take long for the Rebels to strike back through young gun Reece Hodge who showed no fear in attack to dart over for the Rebels first.

Reece Hodge starred for the Rebels, scoring two tries. Photo: Getty Images

The back and forth continued in the opening half as the Rebels struggled with handling and set piece errors but were still in the match at the break, down 14-10.

The Melbourne Rebels came out firing as they took just 32 seconds to score. Cam Crawford found himself on the end of a Nic Stirzaker box-kick, eventually finding Lopeti Timani who steamrolled over for the Rebels second try of the night.

The final 20 minutes really opened up for the Rebels with experienced head Adam Thomson leading the way. Thomson won a vital turnover which led to a 40m try to fullback Jonah Placid, giving the Rebels their biggest lead of the match.

Just five minutes later Hodge had his second as he slipped through the Cheetahs defence before Tamati Ellison capped off a memorable night with an intercept try after the final siren.

Tamati Ellison try

"It's good to get the win but it was a bit of a scrappy affair," said Melbourne Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker."But hats off to the boys, we toughed it out for 80 minutes."

Although Stirzaker made it clear the Rebels needed to improve, particularly through the forwards at set peice.

"They've had really good set piece and they put us under a lot of pressure at scrum and line-out time," he said.

"They threw a lot at us so I'm pretty proud of the defence, and it's good to get the bonus point."

The big test will be if the Rebels can create some consistency when they travel to Auckland next week to take on the Blues next Saturday night.

REBELS

(Tries: Hodge 2, Timani, Placid, Ellison Cons: Debreczeni 4 Pens: Debreczeni)

CHEETAHS

(Tries: van Jaarsveld, Blommetjies Cons: Marais 2)

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