Rebels claim historic victory in Sydney
The Melbourne Rebels have secured a historic victory in Sydney with a 21-17 win over the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Rebels, who move to equal first on the Australian Conference ladder with the Brumbies on 17 points, held off a second-half charge from the Waratahs to secure their first victory in the Harbour City in six games.
The Rebels and Waratahs traded penalties in the first ten minutes, before Jack Debreczeni crossed for the game’s first try in 20th minute after patient build up in attack had the Waratahs pinned on their goal line.
A wide ball from captain Nic Stirzaker found Debreczeni, who threw a dummy inside before crashing over on the 15th phase to give the visitors an 8-3 lead midway through the first-half.
The Rebels added a second try four minutes later when Lopeti Timani burst through the defence and found prop Toby Smith in support for his first try of the season.
Debreczeni recorded his 100th Super Rugby point when he converted Smith’s try before adding two more penalties in the last ten minutes of the half to give the Rebels 21-3 lead at the break.
A try-saving tackle from Israel Folau early in the second-half prevented winger Cam Crawford from extending the Rebels advantage and swung momentum in favour of the Waratahs.
The hosts cut the deficit to 11 points in the 52nd minute when the Waratahs won the lineout against the throw inside the Rebels’ 22 and Jack Dempsey scored his first career Super Rugby try.
The Waratahs converted possession into a second try with ten minutes remaining.
A cross field kick by inside centre David Horwitz found Reece Robinson on the touchline before an inside ball put Matt Carraro under the posts to cut the margin to four points.
A late surge from the Waratahs had the visitors deep inside their half as time expired but the Rebels held on to claim the Weary Dunlop Shield and fourth win of the season.
“It’s a huge win for the Rebels and the whole club to beat the Waratahs away from home in such a really tight game is a huge achievement,” Rebels coach Tony McGahan said. “For a young club still making its way, those little things are really important.”
“We went off the boil attack-wise in the last 40 (minutes) and put ourselves under immense pressure so we just need to be a little bit smarter with what we’re doing, they were coming at us really hard.
“The pleasing thing is that we were able to withstand that through defence, we hung in and made them have one more phase or one more pass.
“We were lucky enough to get out of it in the end.”
Melbourne Rebels 21 (Tries: Debreczeni, Smith; Con: Debreczeni 1/2; Pen: Debreczeni 3/4) defeated NSW Waratahs 17 (Tries: Dempsey, Carraro; Con: Foley 2/2; Pen: Foley 1/2)