Fans have taken aim at Super Rugby AU after a light outage forced a 10-minute delay in Friday’s match between the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force at HBF Park in Perth.

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The main lighting towers went out with six minutes to play just as the two sides were set to pack down for a scrum close to the Rebels tryline with the Force trailing by just three points.

The outage forced officials to bring a halt to the match as referee Graham Cooper was forced to get the rulebook out to determine whether the game could continue.

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However, the match resumed with some of the lights still out, and the Rebels held on to secure a tightly-fought 10-7 victory.

The incident spurred a barrage of criticism online, with fans and viewers of the match taking to Twitter to express their concern about how the light outage was able to happen mid-match.

One user said the stoppage had killed the Force’s momentum as they looked to strike and take the lead in the minutes leading up to the interruption, while another labelled it a “joke of a competition”.

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Others, meanwhile, saw the funny side of the situation, as one Twitter user joked that the officials pulling out rulebook was “the peak of Australian rugby”.

Another suggested that fans should “park cars on the sidelines and turn on the headlights” to combat the darkness at the stadium.

A couple of users joked that the Force’s billionaire owner Andrew Forrest, who made his fortune in the mining industry, had forgot to pay the stadium’s power bill and that he should generate power for the lights through burning coal.

The Rebels win, which denied the Force a second successive victory after last week’s success over the Waratahs, elevates the Melbourne franchise to third place on the Super Rugby AU standings, three points behind the second-placed Reds.

On the flip side of the equation, the Force have been demoted to fourth place, four points clear of the last-placed Waratahs.

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