Rebels survive Moana Pasifika scare

Sat, Apr 29, 2023, 6:28 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Moana Pasifika hosted the Melbourne Rebels in Auckland

The Naarm (Melbourne) Rebels have taken a 43-33 win Moana Pasifika in Auckland.

The Rebels started the game on fire, racing out to a 26-5 lead at the break

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From here, they looked to blow out the contest as Alex Mafi's second half double extend the advantage to 38-12.

However, Moana Pasifika kept in touch and all of sudden found themselves with a chance to win the game with 30 seconds to go.

In the end, Monty Ioane streaked away to seal the game.

"We actually started the game well, but we still left a lot of points out there," Rebels coach Kevin Foote said.

"We, unfortunately, lost the bonus point but really happy that we got the win.

"We haven't won in New Zealand for a while, and away, so that was a good effort from the boys."

The Rebels built their lead after an imposing start from their forwards.

It forced Moana Pasifika to infringe, seeing Miracle Faiilagi and Isi Tu’ungafasi sent for ten minutes in the first half.

This allowed the visitors to strike, with Lachlan Anderson scoring the opener before Andrew Kellaway found Josh Kemeny four minutes later.

With Tu’ungafasi in the bin, flyhalf Carter Gordon sold the defence with a dummy to dive over.

David Feliuai bursts through the line for a great solo try just before the break to give them a dream 26-5 lead.

Aaron Mauger's side looked to build pressure after the break, only to find Ezekiel Lindnemuth sitting down for ten after a dangerous cleanout on Josh Kemeny after just 30 seconds on the field.

Some great hands from Pone Fa'amausili found Alex Mafi in space, who raced 50 metres to score untouched.

When Mafi scored his second, the Rebels appeared to have the game wrapped up before a late charge.

Solomone Funaki responded 90 seconds after Mafi's try and when replacement Jordan Uelese was issued a yellow card, Moana Pasifika kicked into gear.

Two quick tries to Fine Inisi all of a sudden reduced the margin to five and gave them a chance to launch one final attack.

In the end, Cabous Eloff came up with the steal and found Monty Ioane for the winger's first try of the season.


TRIES: Anderson, Kemeny, Gordon, Feliuai, Mafi 2, Ioane

CONS: Hodge 4/7


TRIES: Foma'i, Aumua, Funaki, F. Inisi 2

CONS: Lealiifano 0/1, McClutchie 5/5


PASIFIKA (1-15): Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli, Isi Tu’ungafasi, Michael Curry, Mike McKee, Miracle Faiilagi, Jonah Mau'u, Solomone Funaki (c), Ereatara Enari, Christian Lealiifano, Neria Foma'i, Danny Toala, Levi Aumua, Timoci Tavatavanawai, William Havili

RESERVES: Ray Niuia, Ezekiel Lindnemuth, Chris Apoua, Alex McRobbie, Lotu Inisi, Jonathan Taumateine, Lincoln McClutchie, Fine Inisi

REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi, Sam Talakai, Angelo Smith, Trevor Hosea, Josh Kemeny, Brad Wilkin (c), Vaiolini Ekuasi, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Monty Ioane, David Feliuai, Reece Hodge, Lachie Anderson, Andrew Kellaway

RESERVES: Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff, Pone Fa'amausili, Tim Cardell, Tamati Ioane, James Tuttle, Nick Jooste, Joe Pincus

Referee: Angus Mabey

Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill, Marcus Playle

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