Rebels hit new low as Crusaders cruise to huge win

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Rebels' season has hit its lowest point, flogged 55-10 by the Crusaders in front of their home fans.

Put simply, the scoreline flattered the Rebels.

There was a bit of a men against boys feel at AAMI Park, which says as much about the Crusaders as it does Melbourne.

It is testament to the intensity and accuracy with which the competition favourites play but it also speaks volumes of how far Melbourne have to go before being considered a top line outfit.

When Will Genia limped off the field just before half-time, they looked lost.

Their cleanouts were sloppy, kicking inaccurate, defence limp and set piece play debilitating.

Even as the home side jogged off at the break, trailing 13-10, they were remarkably lucky to still be half a shout of an upset win.

They clung on for dear life in the opening 20, falling off first-up tackles in what felt like every Crusaders carry, the visitors' pack dominant.

The visitors had all the ball, played with all the smarts and only an early Jack Debreczeni penalty and a pair of wayward Richie Mo'unga conversions kept the home side in it.

Seta Tamanivalu crossed for the first try of the night in the 7th minute, Mo'unga catching Melbourne napping after the third straight penalty in their 22, throwing a pinpoint cutout to the unmarked winger.

The second Crusaders try came 10 minutes later and was just as simple to the eye, hooker Andrew Makalio frolicking over the line with very little resistance standing in his way.

It took a pair of yellow cards for cynical penalties - one to Matt Todd, the other to David Havili - for Melbourne to halt the momentum.

They built some momentum of their own in attack but couldn't break the Crusaders line with regularity, a serendipitous Reece Hodge try keeping their head above water as they took a 13-10 deficit into the sheds.

Seta Tamanivalu kicked things off for the Crusaders. Photo: Getty ImagesOn the topic of serendipity - Makalio had a second when Tamanivalu plucked a cross field kick from above the head of Jack Maddocks and dropped the ball inside to the hooker.

An 18-10 lead in the 45th minute marked the moment the floodgates were thrown open.

Maddocks gave away an avoidable penalty for tackling a Crusaders player in the air and five minutes later, Jack Goodhue hit the line from five out and amazingly, went over untouched.

Tamanivalu made Rebels defenders look like boys when he set off for a run down the right hand sideline in the 63rd minute, swatting defenders like flies before popping the ball inside to Peter Samu for his first of the night.

A laughably soft try followed from the ensuing kickoff, Sam Whitelock breezing through two tackles before offloading to Bryn Hall, who went over under the posts, untouched.

Wyatt Crockett and Manasa Mataele scored similarly laughable tries at the death as Melbourne rolled over, having conceded 42 unanswered points in the second half.

The 45 point margin makes it the worst loss at AAMI Park in Melbourne's history.

The fate of trans-Tasman streak now lies with the Waratahs tomorrow night.


Rebels 10

Tries: Hodge

Cons: Debreczeni

Pens: Debreczeni

Crusaders 55

Tries: Tamanivalu, Makalio 2, Goodhue, Samu, Hall, Crockett

Cons: Mo'unga 2, Hunt 4

Pens: Mo'unga