Rebels rebound to big win over Hurricanes

Super 15 newcomers the Melbourne Rebels bounced back from a 50-point demolition to hammer New Zealand’s Wellington Hurricanes 42-25 in Melbourne on Friday.

The Rebels stormed back from 17-0 down after as many minutes to inflict a six-tries-to-four morale-boosting win over the Hurricanes for their second home win in their inaugural season.

Their astonishing turnaround came after a 53-3 humiliation to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane the previous week.

“The difference a week can make in rugby, and unfortunately consistency is stinging us at the moment, but we’re really happy,” Rebels’ skipper Stirling Mortlock said. “I’m really happy with the way we turned things around and mentally we were on song and we brought it out on to the field, although we began a little slow.

“The boys got into the groove and it was a good performance.”

The Rebels, who almost toppled the competition-leading Sharks in Melbourne in round four, looked set for another drubbing when Wellington eased to a 17-0 lead following tries for Chris Eaton, Victor Vito and Daniel Kirkpatrick.

Shift of momentum
But the momentum began to shift as the Rebels launched their fightback with former Wallabies’ prop Rodney Blake scoring on his team debut.

Second-rower Al Campbell scored the first of his two tries, and when England flanker Michael Lipman went over two minutes before halftime Melbourne were back in the game.

England international flyhalf Danny Cipriani levelled the scores at 20-20 on the halftime siren with a penalty from halfway.

The Rebels carried on with the job in the second half with Campbell’s second try coming in the 49th minute.

Winger Cooper Vuna played his part, scoring in the 55th minute before providing the final pass for scrumhalf Nick Phipps to touch down.

Cipriani converted put the Rebels into a 42-20 lead with over 20 minutes left.

The Hurricanes came out of the heavy defeat with a four-try bonus point from a late try to reserve hooker Dane Coles.

“We have to have a look at ourselves,” Hurricanes’ skipper Andrew Hore said. “They played some great rugby, played it in our half and fed off our mistakes and we were probably lucky to get one point out of that.”—AFP

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