Super Rugby Round 8: Melbourne Rebels vs Queensland Reds

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Super Rugby Round 8: Melbourne Rebels vs Queensland Reds Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
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Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Photos from the round eight Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on April 3, 2015. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

TweetFacebookMelbourne Rebels showed a will to win can take down even the strongest of line-ups as they beat a 14-man Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on Friday night.

The Reds started the match with 13 past or present internationals but had former Wallabies captain James Horwill sent off in the 20th minute for striking Rebels tighthead prop Paul Alo-Emile. With 14 men for the rest of the game, the Rebels’ depth and advantage of an extra man allowed them to wear down the Reds to win 23-15.

Two early chances inside the Reds’ half went begging for the Rebels in the opening minutes after bad handling and poor execution.

At the other end, the visitors were clinical in their response as they advanced to the Rebels’ goal line before Will Genia drew the defence then hit Horwill with a perfect pass as the Wallabies lock crunched down the first try, which was converted to make it 7-0 on six minutes.

The Rebels notched a penalty to Mike Harris but soon gave up another try after Reds flanker Liam Gill went through the tackle of Melbourne half-back Nic Stirzaker on the left-hand wing. His pass found an open No.8 Jake Schatz, who ran in for an easy try. Quade Cooper missed the conversion as the Reds led 12-3 after 13 minutes.

But for all the Reds’ dominant play, the game turned in the Rebels’ favour on 20 minutes as Horwill was given a straight red card for appearing to hit Alo-Emile with a right round-arm strike – initially it appeared to only be a penalty but a video review convinced referee Matt O’Brien the act was more serious and he was sent off.

The Rebels punished the Reds immediately, with lock Lopeti Timani continuing his exceptional scoring form by powering over for a try on the right sideline. Harris’ conversion made it 12-10 on 22 minutes.

Cooper nailed a penalty goal from in front on 29 minutes to push the Reds lead to 15-10 but on the restart the Rebels regained possession and worked through the Reds defence, eventually seeing Tamati Ellison draw in the last man then find Tom English for an unchallenged try to make it 15-15 after Harris missed the conversion.

The Reds received a contention penalty just metres from their line in the final minute but Cooper’s kick pulled to the left and hit the post leaving scores tied at half-time.

In the opening 12 minutes of the second term the Rebels controlled possession and territory but couldn’t find a way to break down the Reds defence as their experienced forward pack held out the home side.

Harris couldn’t give the Rebels the lead either when he took a penalty goal attempt on 52 minutes as his shot from distance hit the post.

The introduction of energetic flanker Jordy Reid gave the Rebels a boost and he looked to have scored a try in the 54th minute but it was ruled out after the video referee for a forward pass.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan went for fresh legs over star power when he took off co-captain Scott Higginbotham and Timani just past the hour and it wasn’t long till the home side took the lead.

A Mitch Inman line-break resulted in Sefanaia Naivalu being set free on the left as the impressive Fijian almost made it past the last defender before making a desperation inside pass to Stirzaker who scored the try.

Harris’ miss left the scores at 20-15 with 13 minutes to play but his accuracy returned with a penalty goal on 70 minutes to push the margin to safety at 23-15.

The Rebels have a bye next round.

Melbourne Rebels 23(L Timani, T English, N Stirzaker; M Harris 1-3 cons, 2-3 pens)d Queensland Reds 15(J Horwill, J Schatz; Q Cooper 1-3 cons, 1-2 pens) at AAMI Park on Friday night.Referee:Matt O’Brien.

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