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Rebels romp to home success

Published 08/05/2015

Scott Higginbotham, pictured playing for Australia, was among the Rebels' tryscorers in Melbourne on Friday
Scott Higginbotham, pictured playing for Australia, was among the Rebels' tryscorers in Melbourne on Friday

In-form Melbourne Rebels maintained their push for a Super Rugby finals spot with a 42-22 win against Blues.

Tries from Colby Fainga'a, Toby Smith, Scott Higginbotham, Dom Shipperley and Jack Debreczeni helped them to back-to-back victories after they overcame 2012 and 2013 champions the Chiefs last time out, with Mike Harris adding 17 points.

A frantic opening few minutes culminated in a penalty for Rebels and Harris slotted the opening goal of the game from close in.

Lopeti Timani took a big hit from Blues youngster Akira Ioane but Rebels were undeterred and ran in the first try of the game shortly afterwards.

Fainga'a started the move and finished it, taking on a Debreczeni interception and then collecting a pass from Higginbotham to race over in the left corner to make it 8-0. Harris missed the conversion.

Blues got themselves back into the game with a stunning try as Francis Saili's 20-metre pass was expertly taken by Melani Nanai and he dived over in emphatic style. Ihaia West made it a one-point game with the conversion.

The Rebels pulled clear again as Smith barged his way over after some smart thinking from Pat Leafa and Harris converted, before West's goal made it 18-10 at half-time.

West made it a one-point game with another conversion in the 49th minute after Jamison Gibson-Park's score, only for skipper Higginbotham to power over for his 30th Super Rugby try and Harris to convert to make it 25-17.

Harris extended the Rebels' lead to 11 points with a goal and after George Moala offered renewed hope to Blues, Shipperley ran clear to score and then set up Debreczeni late on as he made the game safe for the home side.

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