Rebels down Stormers for first ever SA victory

The Rebels secured their first ever Super Rugby victory over a South African team when they beat the Stormers 30-21 in Melbourne.

The Rebels will take pride from their victory as they achieved the historic result without their big name players James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale.

The Rebels had played 11 Super Rugby matches against teams from the Republic since joining the competition in 2011 and lost all 11.

In first half the Rebels had 70 percent possession in Stormers’ territory but
were unable to convert most of their chances and trailed 13-14 at the break.

However the Rebels stormed home from 21-20 down with six minutes left to down the Cape
Town-based Stormers with a contentious penalty try ruling to finish victors.

Scrum-half Nick Phipps was ruled to have been held back by Martin Bezuidenhout
chasing after a kick ahead and the TMO recommended a penalty try as Phipps dived
for the ball with Springbok winger Bryan Habana.

Bezuidenhout, who could be clearly seen in replays tugging at Phipps’s jersey,
was sent to the sin bin leaving the Stormers a man down for the final minutes.

The penalty try was converted by Jason Woodward who also kicked a penalty two minutes later which meant that the Rebels didn’t need the penalty try to outscore the Stormers and win the match.

It was the Rebels’ first win over a South African team in their third season
of Super Rugby and the players were jubilant after the full-time whistle.

Both teams scored three tries with Jason Woodward proving the difference with
three conversions and three penalties.

The Stormers, who lost to a late try against the Waratahs in
Sydney last weekend, paid the price for their uncustomary loose defence.

Number eight Scott Higginbotham was again outstanding for the Rebels and scored
his sixth try of the season in the 13th minute, before converted tries from
scrum-half Louis Schreuder and Springbok winger Bryan Habana’s first touchdown
of the season put them ahead 14-10.

Phipps came off the bench for the second half and provided the spark for the
Rebels, playing a key role in the 54th-minute try by lock Hugh Pyle and then
the central figure in the controversial penalty try ruling.

“That’s fantastic. Credit to the Stormers, they pushed us but we hung
in and we played a great brand of rugby tonight,” skipper Higginbotham
said.

“This is great positive thinking for the boys and we’ll take it into next
week.”

Stormers skipper Jean de Villiers said it was an embarrassing defeat for his
side.

“That was embarrassing tonight. From a team point of view that’s just
not good enough and hard decisions need to be made now,” de Villiers said.

“We can’t fault our preparation. Defensively, we were very poor.”

“There was no commitment on defence giving them momentum every time they
carried the ball and that’s not what we stand for as a team.”

The upset defeat has virtually finished the Stormers’ chances of reaching this
season’s Super Rugby playoffs.

It was deflating finish to their Australasian tour and the Stormers now return
home to prepare for next week’s match against the Reds in Cape Town, while the
Rebels shape up for an Australian derby at home against the Waratahs next Friday.

The Stormers had won 17 of their last 18 matches when leading at halftime but had to settle for their third loss in four matches on their Australasian
tour.

Despite the loss the Stormers still have a chance of reaching the play offs but based on last year’s qualifiers they will need to win every one of their remaining matches.

Final Score Rebels 30 (13) Stormers 21 (14)

Scorers

Rebels

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