Sharks hold on for 22-16 victory
May 2, 2014
Mitch Inman carries the ball for the Rebels
© Getty Images
The Melbourne Rebels were their own worst enemy as they handed the Super Rugby front-running Sharks a 22-16 win at AAMI Park. The Rebels dominated territory and possession but let themselves down with costly handling errors while penalties helped keep the visitors in the lead.
Melbourne's defence held firm until the 63rd minute when they again turned over the ball and the Sharks counter-attacked and raced downfield, with winger JP Pietersen touching down. That blew the lead out to 22-9 with their earlier points coming from South African sharp-shooter Frans Steyn, who booted five from five for a 15-6 halftime scoreline.
In their usual fashion, the Rebels, who have won six of their last seven games at home, refused to lay down. They hammered the Sharks tryline and after repeated penalties five-eighth Bryce Hegarty took a quick tap and fired a long ball out to reserve hooker Pat Leafa who burrowed over the line. Jason Woodward added the extras but the clock was against the Rebels, who ran out of time to find the necessary points.
They kept at it, even after full-time, and got to within 10 metres before a penalty for failing to release the ball. Woodward made a superb break midway through the first half, beating six Sharks defenders and as the Rebels sent the ball across field they forced a penalty and their first points of the game. The athletic fullback added a second penalty and although they came desperately close to scoring, with flanker Colby Fainga'a just centimetres away, couldn't get across the tryline until Leafa's effort.
Sharks become the first South African touring side to win in Australia in 2014
No South African team had managed to win in Australia or New Zealand this season but the competition leaders broke the mould which followed a shock loss to the Highlanders last round. The win will add a little more spice to their encounter next week with Australian conference leaders the Brumbies when coach Jake White returns to face his old team for the first time. White said he was happy with way his team responded from the early disappointment.
"When you fly around the world and you score and you don't get a call going your way it tends to put a bit of pressure on the players," he said. "Some sides would have panicked or lost their cool but they got into their huddle and spoke about it and managed to kill the game off. We didn't take our chances and made it difficult for ourselves but it's a win and we tick the box and move on."
When the teams met last year in Durban the Sharks ran in a record 10 tries in a 64-7 thumping which was the worst defeat in Rebels history. Rebels coach Tony McGahan was delighted with their defence but said the result left him "hugely frustrated".
"It was a game that we lost ourselves really," he said. "The boys showed tremendous courage and grit to stay in the game against the number one side but it was game that we let slip away from us."
Communication error please reload the page.
Fernando Alonso has posted a video on his YouTube account thanking fans for their support and promising them he will seen them "very soon on the track"
The UCI has formally requested that Astana be stripped of its WorldTour licence after a series of doping infringements, leaving Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali's title defence in limbo
Force India's 2015 challenger made its long-awaited debut in Barcelona on Friday, only for it to suffer a left rear puncture during Nico Hulkenberg's first lap
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he did not blame Olivier Giroud after his side's Champions League defeat against Monaco on Wednesday and still believes his side can turn the tie around
Romain Grosjean says Fernando Alonso's testing crash raises questions about the safety of the AstroTurf used on the outside of some corners in Formula One
Kempton Park and which other course have a race named after Desert Orchid?
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
An honest England side have been searching for the heir to Jason Robinson for nearly a decade. Step forward Jonathan Joseph, writes Simon Barnes
Piers Morgan has declared himself "hurt" over former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson's claims that he is not an authentic fan of the club
The ARU must be applauded for its decision to introduce a pitch-side video review to assist match-day doctors with concussion assessments, Greg Growden writes
Nani has revealed Louis van Gaal has not spoken to him during his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon
Martin Murray has revealed he was taken aback by his fight with middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin, but only because the Kazakh did not punch as hard as he thought he would
Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the Premier League's television scheduling, saying it gives Manchester City an advantage over his Liverpool side heading into their crucial clash on Sunday
Chelsea have told fans attending the League Cup final against Tottenham on Sunday that they will take the strongest action against any fans involved anti-Semitic chanting against Spurs supporters
The winner of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao's mega-fight will be rewarded with a new, specially commissioned WBC belt, it has been announced
Charlton are investigating footage that appears to show a couple having sex on the club's pitch
Chris Eubank Jr tells Inside Boxing of his hopes of a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders - and a dream showdown with the formidable Gennady Golovkin
Tottenham's League Cup final preparations are in full swing with the club set to duke it out with Chelsea at Wembley this coming Sunday
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
How often has a team that lost its opening Championship match gone on to take the title outright?