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Rebels do it tough for win

Published 03/04/2015

James Horwill, pictured, was sent off in the 20th minute
James Horwill, pictured, was sent off in the 20th minute

Melbourne Rebels were forced to tough it out to claim a 23-15 victory over the 14-man Reds on Friday.

James Horwill was sent off in the 20th minute for the visitors after the television match official adjudged he had swung his arm towards an opponent's head, however the Reds held on to go into half-time level at 15-15.

After the break it was a different story, though, as the Rebels came through thanks to Nic Stirzaker's try and Mike Harris' second penalty of the night.

The win is the Rebel's first home victory in 2015 and also their first over the Reds in Melbourne.

It had all started so promisingly for the Reds after Horwill scored the opening try in the sixth minute after collecting a clever ball from Will Genia. Quade Cooper added the conversion for an early 7-0 lead.

Harris pulled three points back for the Rebels after the Reds were penalised for having hands in the ruck but Jake Schatz quickly widened the gap with the Reds' second try of the night in the 12th minute, Cooper missing the conversion.

The visitors lost Horwill to a red card and two minutes later the Rebels crossed the line when Lopeti Timani was driven over, Harris adding the extras.

Tom English dotted down the hosts' second on the half hour mark after they made the most of a numbers advantage, but Harris' missed conversion meant the scores were tied at the break after Cooper struck an easy penalty attempt against the post just before the hooter.

Harris matched Cooper by striking the woodwork from the penalty tee early in the second half but Stirzaker put some daylight between the sides when he crossed in the 64th minute.

Harris missed the conversion on a poor night for the kickers but found his form with a 70th minute penalty which proved to be enough to claim victory.

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