Rugby Union 4 years ago

Too late for Melbourne

  • Too late for Melbourne

The Hurricanes have taken four points away from AAMI Park tonight after beating the Melbourne Rebels 15-25.

The Hurricanes were on top throughout most of the game, showing that their defensive game is just as good as their attack.

The Rebels pushed hard in the last twenty minutes, but it was left much too late for them to score fifteen points in such little time.

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The Hurricanes dominated the first twenty minutes having the majority of possession, keeping around 70%. Beauden Barrett collected three penalties inside the first fifteen minutes as the old habits of giving away careless penalties resurfaced for the Rebels.

Turnovers were hurting the Melbourne side at the breakdown with the few moments they had on the ball being quickly counter-rucked by the Hurricanes players.

The Rebels finally got their first score on the board after 20 minutes when Wellington-born Jason Woodward put through a penalty against his hometown team.

A brilliant scrum after 25 minutes swung the momentum in Melbourne’s favour, where a pass out to Woodward down the left flank saw him break through the line and beat a number of defenders. A chip-kick over the top was collected by Bryce Hegarty, who sped past the last defender to score the first try of the game and get the Rebels in front.

The first half belonged to the Hurricanes, whose defence pounced on the Rebels at every opportunity and won them the ball for a 60-40% split in the possession at the half.

The Rebels got themselves back into the contest at the end of the half with several solid scrums and Hegarty’s try, but were still needing to find the extra energy to keep up with the pace of the Hurricanes.

The away team started the second half in similar fashion to the first, with several penalty goals coming their way soon after the restart, though they had noticeably dropped off in their liveliness. They kept possession mainly thanks to the Rebels conceding six penalties in the first ten minutes.

A good chance to try came the Hurricanes way in the 53rd minute when they shifted the Rebels side to side and opened up the left wing, but a wayward pass went behind Conrad Smith and, luckily for the Rebels, rendered the attack dead.

Only moments later the Hurricanes gave themselves another chance to score. Andre Taylor broke through the Melbourne defence, moved the ball over to Barrett who sent a cross-field kick over to Cory Jane, the pass in-board found Conrad Smith who spun his way out of trouble and over the line to send the scores to 25-10.

The Rebels steadily brought themselves back into the game and managed to hold some possession for a sustained period of time after that, before launching an attack with fifteen minutes remaining.

Several attempts at the line were held up by an incredibly solid ‘Canes defence, but it took only minutes when the Rebels finally forced themselves over the line against the will of four Hurricanes defenders to reward Tamati Ellison with the teams second try, though it wasn’t converted by Woodward -- who was having a poor night in front of goals -- giving the Rebels just eight minutes to score ten points.

The Rebels countered twice on the Hurricanes turnover and sent the ball steaming forward to the 22, but gave away penalties on both occassions to abruptly end the momentum.

It was a case of too little, too late for the Rebels with the Hurricanes claiming their sixth win of the year.

The Rebels big push at the end of the second half swung possession in their advantage to finish with a count of 52-48%, but the Hurricanes led in metres (407) and carries (102).

The win for the Hurricanes means they jump into fourth on 30 points for the time being, while the Rebels remain on 17 points and in 11th place.

The Hurricanes will host the Highlanders next Friday at Westpac Stadium, while the Rebels travel to Suncorp to take on the Queensland Reds.

HAVE YOUR SAY: The Hurricanes take a good victory away from AAMI Park, but why did the Rebels leave their attacks to the last minute again?

Follow @JordanKounelis on Twitter for his view on the world.

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