Beale snatches victory for Rebels over Force
Force 31 Rebels 32
Cooper Vuna of the Rebels is tackled. Photo: Getty Image
The Melbourne Rebels enjoyed a rare away triumph with a narrow 32-31 win over the Western Force in their Super Rugby clash on Sunday.
It was just the second time the Rebels have won away from home in their short history and both those victories have been one-point wins at the expense of the hapless Force.
Remarkably, it was also the third successive match between the teams the Rebels have won by a solitary point.
The Force, down a man with Matt Hodgson sinbinned, grabbed the lead in the 74th minute through a Ben Seymour penalty, but Kurtley Beale calmly slotted a tough penalty in the 77th minute to snatch the win for the Rebels.
The result continued a horror season for the Force, who are coachless after the departure of Richard Graham mid-season, and have now lost their last six matches.
The Rebels managed to snap their nine-match losing streak away from home in what was an entertaining match that featured seven first-half tries, with the creativity of Beale and Julian Huxley setting up plenty of try scoring opportunities for the visitors.
The chief beneficiary was rookie Cadeyrn Neville, who scored his first two Super Rugby tries as the Rebels earned a bonus point before the break.
Neville was on the board in the fourth minute, running onto a Nick Phipps pass to score an easy try that Beale duly converted.
A Huxley pass enabled skipper Gareth Delve to add a second try in the 19th minute as the Rebels took a 14-3 lead.
The two teams then traded tries, with three players crossing the line in the space of five minutes.
The Force's Napolioni Nalaga scored in the 24th minute before Neville went over for his second try two minutes later, only for the Force to hit back again with Ben McCalman.
The Rebels led 21-15 but another Huxley pass enabled Cooper Vuna to score in the 35th minute and give the visitors a handy 26-15 lead at the break.
The Force rallied in the second half, with Alfie Mafi scoring a try in the 43rd minute and the home team then closing in with several penalties.
They hit the lead for the first time in the 74th minute through Seymour's penalty. However, Beale's cool conversion from near the sideline broke Force hearts again.
Delve said his team nearly paid for a poor second half.
"The first half was good, but the second half was disappointing," he said.
Force skipper David Pocock lamented another missed opportunity.
"The match was there for the taking," he said.
"They scored some realy good tries out wide and kept the scoreboard tricking over
"Our defence out wide was pretty poor at times."
MELBOURNE REBELS 32 (Cadeyrn Neville 2, Gareth Delve, Cooper Vuna tries Kurtley Beale 3 cons 2 pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 31 (Alfie Mafi, Ben McCalman, Napolioni Nalaga tries David Harvey, Ben Seymour cons Seymour 2, Harvey, Brett Sheehan pens) at nib Stadium. Referee: Marius Jonker. Crowd: 11,734.