Hobbled Rebels no answer for Super Sharks
Playing their first match in country Victoria, the Rebels were looking to back up their impressive breakthrough win over the Waratahs.
They were in the hunt early on before being ultimately outplayed by the Durban-based side, with Springboks winger Makozole Mapimpi scoring two tries among their haul of five.
“I’m just frustrated that we lost so many big moments in the game,” Wessels said.
“We can sit here and say we feel unlucky about this or that but that’s not helpful.
“We didn’t control the things we can control in the big moments and therefore we lost the game.
“We need to have a proper discussion about why we lost the moments that mattered.”
The Rebels had a disrupted build-up, losing a number of key players including Wallabies Matt Toomua and Reece Hodge to injury, and then cen tre Campbell Magnay in the final training run, forcing them to play two halfbacks on the bench as their only available backs.
But that couldn’t be blamed for the loss, with the Sharks making the most of any attacking opportunity.
The period either side of halftime proved crucial, with the Sharks scoring a try in the 39th minute when five-eighth Curwin Bosch through a long cut-out pass that appeared to float more than a metre forward.
South African referee AJ Jacobs didn’t hesitate before awarding the five-pointer to Madosh Tambwe and a successful conversion gave the visitors a 22-10 lead into the break.
Soon after halftime the Sharks found themselves down to 13 men, with hooker Kerron Van Vuuren yellow-carded for a tip tackle on Marika Koroibete.
Four minutes later Tambwe joined him for intentional off-side.
But the Sharks smartly wound down valuable minutes on the clock, making the most of the Rebels’ decision to elect for a scrum.
The Sharks wasted six minutes by repeatedly forcing scrum resets and the Rebels were only able secure one try, scored through Isi Naisarani, despite the big numerical advantage.
The 49th minute conversion brought the margin to five points but that was as close as the Rebels got.
Hooker Anaru Rangi crossed in the 78th minute to make the margin more respectable but it was a disappointing afternoon for the home side.
Skipper Dane Haylett-Petty said it felt like the match was closer than the scoreline suggested.
“Scoreboard aside it felt like a really even tussle and for 90 per cent of the game it would have been hard to tell who was on top but as Dave said, we lost some key moments and you pay for it in this competition,” Haylett-Petty said.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now