Beale back but Rebels fall short
May 3, 2013
Kurtley Beale scored a try and set up another in an impressive stint following injury and suspension
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Wallabies star Kurtley Beale repaid the Rebels in his return from suspension but he couldn't help them secure an upset win over the Chiefs.
In a see-sawing encounter the Super Rugby defending champions held on for a 39-33 win at AAMI Park, holding off a late Rebels surge. It was the third narrow loss in a row and delivered more heartbreak for the young side.
The Chiefs scored four tries in the opening half - three by fullback Gareth Anscombe - to secure a bonus point at AAMI Park before the break, and two in the second half.
Last round the Chiefs did the same against the Sharks before letting the South Africans back into the match and were forced to scramble to a late win.
Beale had missed the last six games; first through a broken hand and then suspension for a drunken altercation with two Rebels. He returned to Melbourne this week with his teammates giving him the green light to play.
Beale came on at fullback in the 47th minute and made an inauspicious start; kicking the ball out on the full in the re-start. But he showed he had lost none of his electric pace and skills as he helped set up a second try to lock Hugh Pyle.
He and fellow playmaker James O'Connor then combined to send Nick Phipps in under the posts before the 24-year-old split the defence and raced to the tryline himself in the 75th minute. That made the scoreline 39-33 and put the Rebels right back in the hunt.
That appeared to be short-lived when Anscombe looked to have scored his fourth, only for the Television Match Official to declare an earlier knock-on.
Melbourne then took control of the ball and hammered the Chiefs tryline in the dying minutes but couldn't find a way through to get the points they needed.
Skipper Scott Higginbotham delivered another inspired performance, scoring a try in the first half along with Pyle's.
They were at one stage down 24-7, with Anscombe scoring twice within six minutes but fought back to 24-12 at the break.
With their three second half tries the Rebels finished with two bonus points, for scoring their five tries and finishing within seven points but it wasn't the win they desperately sought.
Kurtley Beale's return for Melbourne Rebels wasn't enough to see off the Chiefs (Australia only)
Rebels coach Damien Hill was disappointed to be in the same position three weeks running.
"It doesn't get any easier," he said. "The challenge for us now is that we don't lose heart and we continue the path that we're on."
Hill plans to put Beale straight back into the starting side next Saturday against the Blues in Auckland.
"He was electric, he added so much to our attack," Hill said. "Two of those combinations he had with James (O'Connor); one led to a line-break and one led to a try so I hope Kurtley gets a lot of confidence out of that."
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said his side wasn't finishing matches.
"We had the game under control a number of times and through a lack of rugby nous and decision making, we gifted the ball back and gave up a couple of soft tries and put ourselves under pressure. We lack killer instinct at the moment. We get ourselves in a strong position and we should put the foot on the throat and finish it off, but we put ourselves under stress."
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