Rebels cause the biggest upset in weekend of boilovers
Local ball sports experienced more boilovers this weekend than a TAFE cooking class. But I’m adamant that not even the most clinically insane followers would’ve expected the unforeseen bubble and fizz result of the Rebels win over the Crusaders.
It was one of those results that make you think you’ve actually drunk more than you thought on a regular Saturday sitting of footy and refreshments.
Your pickled brain drives you to quickly stumble out the door so you can trawl through your yellow recycling bin to do a recount on the stubbie intake for the evening.
But even after all of the eye-rubbing and crooked calculation of standard drinks is finished, the result was still there blazing like a beacon for reality in the top right-hand corner of your screen. It proudly stares you in the face as your muddling tormentor and sends your mind on a mad search for something comparable.
Trust your VB-soaked pupils, as you are not hallucinating. This is an Australian union miracle.
Was what transpired at AAMI Park on Saturday night the biggest upset in Super Rugby history?
The most successful franchise in competition history, crammed to the back teeth with blue chip Kiwi talent and on a run of 6 wins in 7 games up against a bits-and-bobs outfit from a kindergarten-level rugby city with 1 lonely win in their last 6 outings.
An organisation with a plush and velvety history of repeated success against a mob who only decided on their team colours a few years ago.
The Melbourne Rebels, so easy to lash as the poster boys for the lack of depth in Australian rugby since becoming the nation’s 5th hungry mouth needing a talent feed, somehow came from behind and then closed out a stunning victory against the Crusaders, the biggest and scariest dog in the pound.
These sorts of match results have been known to spike the numbers of inquisitive phone calls to the WADA switchboard or the SANZAR anti-corruption unit in the past.
Fair enough, the Crusaders began the match with internationals Israel Dagg, Ben Franks and Kieran Read inside windcheaters on the pine, but the gulf in class between the two outfits on the team sheets was still Grand Canyon-esque.
And it appeared to be a stock standard evening at the work depot for the Christchurch outfit when they defied being on the wrong side of possession and territory to lead 19-10 at half time.
However, only medically-diagnosed fruitcakes and the most rusted-on and delirious of the Rebel’s small but resilient supporter group could’ve dreamt of the astonishing and unlikely froth of the second half.
On the back of a sparkler from Kurtley Beale, a post-it note reminder performance to Robbie Deans from Nick Phipps and some tireless beavering from Hugh Pyle, the Rebels were able to defy arguably the entire international rugby community by keeping the Crusaders scoreless and romping to easily the most notable victory in their short existence.
So what was the spur in the Rebel rear-end that drove this rare rugby trinket for the ages?
I would like to say it was a brilliant tactical rug-pull laced with sparkling turns of dexterity, but it was mainly meat and potatoes rah-rah that got the job done.
Fundamentals like inspired and industrious defence, nabbing points when the opportunities presented themselves and having Danny Cipriani back in the UK shagging saggy c-grade brit popstars and passing out at Spearmint Rhino nightclub for good.
Rebels coach and household rugby name Damien Hill described it as the ‘best win in the club’s history’, and duly so considering the stuff-all amount of times they’ve sung the team song.
In a weekend of heavenly uncertainty with Goliaths in all corners crying down the phone to their mums, the Rebels were the Davids that shone the brightest.
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