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Australia's top-dogs fall to South Africa's pack-chasers

By Online Editors
Disappointment for the Rebels as they rue another loss against South African opposition. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

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Melbourne’s South African curse has continued with the Rebels going down 41-24 to the struggling Stormers in Friday’s Super Rugby clash.


Heading into the AAMI Park showdown, the Rebels’ only losses of the season had come in their two matches in South Africa and the Stormers continued that hoodoo.

It was a game where little went right for the Australian conference leaders, although the men from Cape Town, who had lost their last three matches, deserved plenty of credit.

They rushed the Rebels’ flat attacking line and didn’t allow them to build any rhythm while out-muscling them at the breakdown.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels was bitterly disappointed by his team’s performance, describing it as “poor”.

He said he wasn’t happy with his team’s intensity right from the warm-up.

“We just didn’t bring the intensity that’s required to win a Super Rugby match,” Wessels said.


“We were beaten in the contact areas and in the effort areas – something that we’ve been very proud of all year so I’m disappointed about that.

“I think we’re a good team but we played badly and we’ve got to figure out why that’s happened.”

In a first half to forget Melbourne had 70 per cent of possession and 75 per cent territory and forced the visitors to make 83 tackles to their own 27 – yet trailed 10-3 at the break.

Late in the half they racked up 15 phases, hammering the tryline, until centre Bill Meakes was unable to reel in a loose pass with the Stormers’ steely defence standing up.


Teenage winger Semisi Tupuo, filling in for injured Wallaby Jack Maddocks, mostly had a night to forget.

The Australian under 20s representative was gifted a perfectly weighted Quade Cooper cross-field kick into the in-goal but spilt it.

But he wasn’t alone with the Rebels uncharacteristically sloppy against the bottom-placed South African side.

Cooper himself knocked on a kick from Stormers five-eighth Jean-Luc du Plessis midway through the second half which was scooped up by centre Ruhan Nel to score their fourth try of the night.

It looked like Wessels’ halftime blast had worked when two minutes into second half, Reece Hodge intercepted a long, looping pass by du Plessis to score.

Cooper added the extras to level at 10-10 but it was all downhill from there.

The Stormers piled on three tries in 11 minutes with Jaunro Agustus, Springboks centre Damian de Allende and then Nel all scoring.

The Rebels added two tries through halfback Will Genia and reseerve back Campbell Magnay, but the Stormers had the final say with Nel adding his second of the night just before fulltime.


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