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Rebels hold on to defeat Force

Date

REBELS 30 FORCE 29

Danny Cipriani of the Rebels celebrates with Hugh Pyle after he scored.

Danny Cipriani of the Rebels celebrates with Hugh Pyle after he scored. Photo: Robert Cianflone

A dream came true for Melbourne Rebels winger Mark Gerrard, who slotted a penalty to give his gutsy side a 30-29 win over the Western Force in their Super Rugby clash.

MATCH STATS

The fans at AAMI Park held their breath as it appeared the Rebels were set for more heart-break after they surrendered a 21-0 lead.

Nick Cummins crosses for a try to give the Force the lead for the only time in the match in the 64th minute.

Nick Cummins crosses for a try to give the Force the lead for the only time in the match in the 64th minute. Photo: Getty Images

But Gerrard got his chance at glory in the 72nd minute after Force skipper David Pocock was penalised at the break-down.

"I've done it in my dreams a stack of times," the veteran said after the match.

"I looked across at Hux (Julian Huxley) and James (Hilgendorf) and they both shook their head so I said, 'I'll have a crack'."

Danny Cipriani injured his leg on route to scoring a try.

Danny Cipriani injured his leg on route to scoring a try. Photo: Getty Images

As well as a stern Force fightback the Rebels were forced to overcome injuries to their playmakers James O'Connor and Danny Cipriani before and during the match.

Wallaby O'Connor withdrew before the match after damaging his hamstring during the week at training while Cipriani grasped at his own hamstring as he scored a try in the 22nd minute and left the field soon after.

The Force took a 29-27 lead in the 64th minute after fullback Dave Harvey converted a Nick Cummins try and the Rebels looked like stretching their winless streak of 12 straight losses.

But Pocock was penalised at the ruck and Gerrard stepped up after Cipriani and Huxley shared the earlier kicking duties.

Skipper Gareth Delve said the team had learnt from their loss after the final hooter to the Cheetahs last round.

"You learn a lot from losses and that came through in the final five," said Delve.

"I was really proud of the way the lads worked."

Before his departure mercurial Englishman Cipriani had his best match of the season, and the Rebels their best start.

They scored three tries in the opening 22 minutes, through centres Lachlan Mitchell and Lloyd Johansson, and then Cipriani's effort.

Despite the best efforts of his replacement Hilgendorf, the Rebels didn't have the same verve in attack after they lost Cipriani and their defence became ragged.

The visitors got on the scoreboard twice within five minutes through Pocock and then centre Winston Stanley.

Melbourne still led 24-12 at halftime but the Force struck three minutes into the second half through winger Alfie Mafie, who beat at least four defenders to touch down.

Force captain Pocock was disappointed his side didn't go back-to-back after their 21-20 win over NSW last round and lamented their slow start.

"We let them get off to a flyer and they capitalised on their opportunities," Pocock said.

He said he didn't think there was much in his costly penalty.

"It was one of those ones; sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't."

It was the Rebels's first win in Super Rugby since they defeated the Western Force, also by one point, in round seven last year in Perth.

MELBOURNE REBELS 30 (Danny Cipriani, Lloyd Johansson, Lachlan Mitchell tries Cipriani 3 cons Julian Huxley 2, Mark Gerrard pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 29 (Nick Cummins, Alfi Mafi, David Pocock, Winston Stanley tries David Harvey 3 cons pen) at AAMI Park. Referee: Marius Jonker. Crowd: 10,982.

AAP

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Round 1
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Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
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HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
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STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BLU 04:10FSS
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
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HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
RED vs BRU 19:40SS
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
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CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
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BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
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Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 10
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
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Round 15
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Round 17
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HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
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Round 19
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Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
Stormers 2 2 0 0 23 8
Chiefs 2 2 0 0 7 8
Rebels 2 1 1 0 0 5
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