A courageous Rebels outfit have fallen to the Stormers in Melbourne, going down 57-31.
The Rebels were all but out of contention for finals this season, but were more than happy to try disrupt proceedings at the top of the ladder.
The home side were hit by injuries with locks Luke Jones and Lopeti Timani both failing concussion tests leaving coach Tony McGahan with the limited personnel, and causing many issues at the set piece.
While Stormers flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis slotted a penalty inside the opening two minutes it was the Rebels that dominated the attacking play.
Sefanaia Naivalu was on the receiving end of well-drilled backline move to open the scoring in the ninth minute to give the Rebels the lead. It didn’t stop there for the Rebels as halfback Ben Meehan darted over off the back of a maul to give Melbourne their second try inside the opening 20 minutes.
Du Plessis was controlling play well for the Stormers with his strong kicking game keeping the visitors in the match. A miscommunication under a high ball between Jonah Placid and Reece Hodge saw du Plessis recover his own ball to give the Stormers the lead.
Momentum contined to flow in the Stormers direction as du Plessis added another penalty followed by a prop Vincent Koch bashing through the Rebels defence to set up the biggest lead of the match just shy of halftime.
The Rebels showed heart despite their injury woes as a buildup eventuated in Jonah Placid try to reward the Rebels with the lead once more.
Giant Springbok Eben Etzebeth started to take control of the match due to the lack of Rebels size up front, to really hurt the home side. While the Rebels managed to level the scores at 31-31 it was all downhill from there as the Stormers ran home with four unanswered tries to for a convincing 26 points victory.
The Rebels will head to Christchurch next week to take on the powerful Crusaders.
Tries: Naivalu, Meehan, Placid, Debreczeni Cons: Debreczeni 4 Pens: Debreczeni
Tries: du Plessis, Koch, Etzebeth, Groom, de Allande, Zas, Ntubeni Cons: du Plessis 5 Pens: du Plessis 4