Promising Melbourne Rebels lock Luke Jones rates it as the best performance in the side’s short history in the Super Rugby competition, but the team aren’t celebrating.
After all, a loss is still a loss.
The Rebels were pipped 41-35 by the Bulls at AAMI Park in a high-energy match with the lead changing a number of times as both teams scored five tries apiece.
The boot of sharp-shooter Morne Steyne with two successful penalties proved the difference.
Melbourne didn’t panic after surrendering an early lead and stuck to their game plan for the entire match; shedding the inconsistency that has plagued their play.
Flanker Jones said it was a win that got away.
“The boys were definitely up and there was great enthusiasm and effort out there we just couldn’t close.
“I don’t think we’ve played like that in a long time; I don’t think we’ve played like that ever.
“We were backing ourselves and giving ourselves a good crack.”
The 21-year-old was again one of his side’s best, although that honour could have gone to just about any player in the team.
Kurtley Beale put his hand up for selection at No.10 for the Wallabies’ June Tests with an impressive performance in his first start there for the Rebels; setting up a try and giving his outside backs plenty of opportunities with winger Cooper Vuna scoring twice.
The only blight on Jones’ game was a yellow card for alleged dangerous tackle on Bulls winger Bjorn Basson with referee Andrew Lees also giving him a white card, which means it’s referred to the SANZAR judicial officer.
Jones couldn’t comment about the incident.
Rebels coach Damien Hill made mention of each of his forwards against the Bulls, who are renowned for their forward play.
Jones, who can play lock or flanker, could be a bolter for the Wallabies.
“If the game went for 100 minutes he’d still be running at the end of it; he’s doing very well,” Hill said.
But skipper Gareth Delve could barely raise a smile given the result.
“There’s pluses in terms of that we know what we need to fix,” Delve said.
“We’re close but we lost so we’re really not happy with that.
“We know what we need to build upon and we need to turn up next week for that to have any merit because we need consistency across the board and in individual performances.”