Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Rebels rocked by Halai hat-trick

Frank Halai crossed three times before half-time

Frank Halai scored a thrilling hat-trick as the Blues edged the Rebels 36-32 at Eden Park.

The 25-year-old touched down three times before half-time, with Francis Saili also crossing twice, to put his side in control, before the out-of-form Rebels launched a second-half fightback through tries from Lachlan Mitchell, Mitch Inman, his second of the game, and Jason Woodward.

Ultimately, though, Rene Ranger would put them to bed with a 72nd-minute score.

An Israel Folau try three minutes from full-time helped the Waratahs secure a thrilling 21-15 come-from-behind victory over the Stormers at Allianz Stadium.

Folau's superb aerial skills created the only try of a bruising first half but four Joe Pietersen penalties erased a half-time deficit and gave the visitors a 15-11 lead after 64 minutes.

But Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis' decision to turn down two penalties proved a masterstroke as replacement fly-half Berrick Barnes dummied to get past Bryan Habana and linked with Wallabies hopeful Folau.

The former rugby league superstar sped outside Jean de Villiers before sliding over for the match-winning try to send another message to Wallabies coach Robbie Deans ahead of next month's British and Irish Lions series.

Barnes capped a superb 17-minute cameo in his return match from a broken thumb with a 49-metre penalty after the siren to complete the Waratahs' sixth win of the campaign in front of 17,042 delighted fans.

The Southern Kings overcame the Highlanders 34-27 in Port Elizabeth.

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