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Rebels off the mark

Melbourne Rebels notched their first win of the Super Rugby season by holding on to beat the Western Force 30-29.

Danny Cipriani was the best player on the field early on but failed to complete the match after tweaking his hamstring.

The Englishman set up two tries and scored another in an early blitz but after his injury the Force hit back, taking the lead in the second half before a late penalty from Melbourne winger Mark Gerrard ensured the win for the home side.

Lachlan Mitchell, Lloyd Johansson and Cipriani each scored tries to help the Rebels into a 21-0 lead before the former Wasps man had to go off and immediately the Force got back in the game.

Tries to Force captain David Pocock and Winston Stanley were split by a penalty to Julian Huxley to make the score 24-12 at the break.

Five minutes after half-time, Alfie Mafi blasted through Melbourne's defensive line like it did not exist to score under the posts. David Harvey converted and scored a penalty soon after and although another penalty from Huxley gave the Rebels some respite it did not stop the Force from taking the lead when Nick Cummins powered over the line in the 64th minute.

Harvey slotted his fourth kick from six attempts and the Western Australians led 29-27.

But having hit the front, the Force let the home team back in the game through penalties and with seven minutes to go Gerrard, Melbourne's third goal-kicker for the night, calmly slotted a long penalty to give his side the win.

In Friday's other game Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett set up a try for centre Conrad Smith and then converted the match-winning conversion as his side edged out the Blues 26-25 at Eden Park.

The Blues looked to have the game sewn up as they pinned the Hurricanes in their own half for much of the second spell but Barrett's break and support from Smith shut out the home side.


From Belfast Telegraph