Rebels swept away by Hurricanes 66-24
The Melbourne Rebels faced the Hurricanes hoping to set a few Super Rugby records. Most points conceded certainly wasn’t one of them.
The Rebels were thrashed 66-24 at Wellington with the rampant Hurricanes running in nine tries to three and leaving their opponents battered and bruised.
To cap the misery for Melbourne, star five-eighth Kurtley Beale left the field early in the second half and was taken to hospital for scans on a shoulder injury.
Key backs Mark Gerrard and Lachlan Mitchell were also injured in the second half in ferocious tackles by reserve Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu’u.
Mitchell, knocked out and stretchered from the field, also went to hospital for scans on his neck while Gerrard suffered a sternum injury.
The Rebels had hoped to secure their first victory outside Australia and their first haul of three successive wins but any claims on those records were left in tatters.
It was the biggest winning margin and highest score ever by the Hurricanes and most points conceded by the Rebels, eclipsing last season’s 53-3 loss to the Reds.
“It doesn’t matter who you play if you make the mistakes we made, that’s going to be the result,” said Melbourne coach Damien Hill.
After winning their previous two matches the Rebels had no answer to the Hurricanes, with Julian Savea scoring a hat-trick and fellow winger Alapati Leiua and fullback Andre Taylor doubles.
Melbourne’s defence, the key to their victories over the Crusaders and Western Force, was woeful, missing 19 tackles in the first half alone.
Their kicking game was also poor, giving the dangerous Hurricanes the broken play opportunities they relish, and they didn’t control enough possession to pressure the home side.
“We gave them a lot of ball on the front foot and a lot of space and a team like the Hurricanes will make you pay for that and that’s what they did,” Hill said.
“They’re a very good side … but that doesn’t take away from our performance which was nowhere near up to scratch.”
Melbourne started well enough with winger Cooper Vuna running on to a Beale pass and then beating a bag of Hurricanes before stretching out to plant the ball over the tryline.
After exchanging penalties the Hurricanes levelled at 10-10 with a try in the 20th minute that’s sure to make the highlights reel.
Young halfback TJ Perenara flicked a backhand pass to centre Tim Bateman who, as he was being tackled over the sideline, got the ball away to fullback Taylor who dived across the line.
From that point it was all downhill for the Rebels and full-time couldn’t come soon enough.© AAP 2013
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