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Rebels' late charge not enough in windy Wellington

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4th May, 2019
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The Hurricanes beat the Melbourne Rebels 29-19 in a game of two halves.

Melbourne were looking to get back to winning ways after a few disappointing losses.

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, had come off a thumping win over the Chiefs in Round 11.

The Hurricanes applied the pressure early as the visiting side found themselves clearing out of their 22. The kick fell into the hands of Beauden Barrett on halfway, who sucked in three defenders before putting Ngani Laumape through a gaping hole.

Laumape made his way up past the 22 before he brushed off the returning Dane Haylett-Petty with a neat left-foot step to score his eighth try of the season.

Beauden Barrett added the extras before scoring one of his own just two minutes later.

The Rebels once again found themselves on the back foot, deep inside their own half. And with a clean shift of the hands, Barrett strolled past Marika Koroibete, who had left his man too much room.

Another Barrett conversion extended the Hurricanes lead to 14 inside nine minutes.

The home side were on a roll as they looked to further push their advantage.

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The Hurricanes pressed for 12 phases on the left-hand side of the field. The forwards worked hard around the fringes of the ruck, attempting to draw in the Rebels defenders.

Replacing TJ Perenara, scrumhalf Richard Judd then decided it was time to move it via the back line.

Wes Goosen managed to get himself on the outside of his opposite defender on the right wing to slide in for the Canes’ third try of the match.

Barrett’s conversion hit the post but the home side had the Rebels on the ropes just after 15 minutes.

The match was threatening to blow-out though when Vaea Fifita helped himself to a five-pointer.

Vaea Fifita Hurricanes Super Rugby Rugby Union 2016

(AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

The Hurricanes were attacking on the halfway line when lock James Blackwell burst through the Rebels’ defensive line. He offloaded in the tackle to Asafo Aumua, who barged over Will Genia and directed long pass towards the left-hand touchline.

Fifita gathered the pass and ran over for the try, and with the added conversion from Barrett, the Hurricanes led 26-0 after 22 minutes.

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The Rebels had to strike back immediately and they edged closer to the Hurricanes line off the back of multiple scrum penalties. But they could not make use of their opportunities as the Hurricanes found a way to fend off the pressure.

The score stayed the same for the rest of the half as the Hurricanes took a 26-0 lead into the half-time break.

The Rebels had to score first in the second half and they did so thanks to a well-executed back line move off a scrum.

Quade Cooper popped the ball onto his right shoulder where a barnstorming Reece Hodge charged onto it and burst through the line.

He was taken down but another Cooper pass off the recurring phase found a hard-running Matt Philip, who dove over the white chalk for the first try for the Rebels. Cooper knocked over the conversion, which reduced the deficit to 19.

The Victorian side continued to press and a string of infringements by the hosts meant they were placed on a last warning by referee Nic Berry.

The pressure eventually paid off when Bill Meakes got over for the Melbourne side.

Another set-piece move off the back of a line-out saw Genia scoot around the back looking for runners. He found replacement forward Pone Fa’amausili, who had only been on the field for a matter of moments.

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Fa’amausili broke through the line and handed it off to Koroibete, who then did the same to Billy Meakes who dotted it down to give the Rebels a sniff.

Cooper added the conversion as the score went to 26-14 in favour of the Canes.

The Rebels were in a try-scoring mood and despite handing the ball back to the Hurricanes, a big shove from the scrum handed them their third try of the evening.

The Hurricanes secured a defensive scrum five metres from their line. The Rebels pack walked through the hosts’ scrum though and turned it over.

Genia unleashed it out to the backs and an overlap was found when Reece Hodge outpaced Wes Goosen to the try line to reduce the margin to seven points.

Will Genia

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Cooper could not add the extras with a tough kick but the Rebels had the momentum leading into the final ten minutes.

Jordie Barrett then extended the Canes’ lead to ten when a penalty for tackling the man without the ball gave the fullback a penalty kick from just over 40 metres out on a slight angle. He had no problems with the kick as he drilled it between the posts.

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With a minute and a half left, the Rebels opted to take a shot at goal, courtesy of the Hurricanes’ backline rushing up too early.

Cooper hooked the kick to the left of the posts though, and a Hurricanes penalty for holding on a minute later put the game to bed.

The Hurricanes secured the victory, prevailing over the Rebels 29-19.

That is the third loss on the trot for the Rebels as they continue to come under pressure from their rival Aussie teams. They travel back home next week to take on the Reds, who are coming off a gritty win over the Sunwolves.

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have now strung together four wins in as many games. They travel north to Auckland to take on the Blues at Eden Park.

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