Chiefs hold off Melbourne Rebels to pick up Super Rugby Trans-Tasman victory in Sydney
Melbourne were unable to repeat the last round feats of Queensland over the Chiefs, with a 36-26 scoreline at Leichhardt Oval, where the match was relocated from Hamilton with the Rebels unable to travel to New Zealand.
Hulking No.8 Naisarani scored two first-half tries in his best performance of the year, and his timing couldn’t have been better with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie watching from the stands.
It looked like it could turn into a horror show for the Rebels but the Australians rallied to lock up the match at 19-19 by halftime.
Naisarani’s first try came when he collected the spoils from a tighthead scrum pushover try.
Young Melbourne five-eighth Carter Gordon then showed some individual brilliance to kick ahead, regather and then off-load a no-look pass for centre Stacey Ili.
Naisarani barrelled over in the 39th minute after a quick tap for the Rebels to level.
Their momentum stalled early in the second half with the Chiefs running in two tries in nine minutes, with replacement Tiatia crossing for his double and then fullback Trask adding his second for the afternoon.
That ended up being Melbourne’s final hurrah, with the team left to rue a number of missed opportunities in their hunt for an elusive win.
Rebels 26 (Tries to Isi Naisarani (2), Stacey Ili and Andrew Kellaway; 3 conversions to Matt To’omua)
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