Careless Rebels blow big lead as Super Rugby winning run ends at hands of Lions


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The Lions celebrate their stunning comeback win over the Rebels in Johannesburg.

The Melbourne Rebels have blown a golden chance to land their first Super Rugby win in South Africa, giving up a massive lead to lose to the Lions 36-33 in Johannesburg on Sunday morning (NZ time).

Lions reserve Gianni Lombard kicked the winning points after the final siren following a scrum penalty, taking advantage of the Rebels being down a forward with Angus Cottrell sidelined with a yellow card.

It was the Rebels’ second yellow card of the match with a horror penalty count – 20-1 – proving disastrous, as they suffered their first loss of their campaign.

Will Genia and the Rebels looked set to secure their first-ever win in South Africa, but they came undone.

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Will Genia and the Rebels looked set to secure their first-ever win in South Africa, but they came undone.

The visitors were up 33-5 early in the second half but a yellow card to Billy Meakes after repeated team infringements allowed the Lions back into the match.

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While the second five-eighth was in the sin bin the home side scored three tries, with their lead narrowed to 33-26.

The Lions then added another try in the 64th minute with Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx forcing a turnover and speedster Courtnall Skosan reaping the rewards. The conversion by test five-eighth Elton Jantjes locked up the match.

Courtnall Skosan scored what was to be the final try of the match.

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Courtnall Skosan scored what was to be the final try of the match.

Rebels reserve backrower Cottrell’s yellow card came in the 76th minute, piling the pressure on his team in the dying stages and the home side smelt blood.

The first half could hardly have gone better for the Rebels as they dominated everywhere including the scoreboard.

They scored four first half tries with Quade Cooper touching down in the 12th minute after a superb team effort that went almost the length of the field.

It looked like the second half would continue in the same vein when Tom English scored two minutes in, atoning for a costly error as he tried to score in the first half.

The Lions came from 33-5 down to hand the Rebels their first loss of the competition.

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The Lions came from 33-5 down to hand the Rebels their first loss of the competition.

But then the wheels fell off the Rebels, the Lions, who lost some key personnel to Europe after last year’s grand final defeat, got back in the game.

Cooper contributed to the disappointment after the Rebels No 10 failed to ground a kick into the in-goal, with Lionel Mapoe racing through to dive on the ball and score.

The Rebels also had two yellow cards against the Brumbies in the last round but escaped with a tight win then.

They still have a two-point buffer at the top of the Australian conference over the Brumbies, who have played an extra game, while the Lions are now equal on points with the Bulls at the top of the South African standings, though have played one more match than them.

AT A GLANCE

Lions 36 (Malcolm Marx, Marnus Schoeman, Andries Coetzee, Lionel Mapoe, Courtnall Skosan tries; Elton Jantjies 4 con, Gianni Lombard pen) Rebels 33 (Quade Cooper, Tom English, Reece Hodge, Bill Meakes, Isireli Naisarani tries Cooper 4 con). HT: 5-26.

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Source link : https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/111341974/careless-rebels-blow-big-lead-as-super-rugby-winning-run-ends-at-hands-of-lions

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Publish date : 2019-03-16 18:53:00

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