Rebels score historic victory over Stormers
May 17, 2013
Jarrod Saffy was one of many Rebels forwards who raised their game against the Stormers
© Getty Images
A late penalty try at last gave Melbourne Rebels something to smile about as they recorded a breakthrough 30-21 win over the Stormers in their Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park on Friday night.
After coming tantalisingly close in their past four matches, the Rebels finally finished in front to earn their third win of the season and their first-ever over a South African opponent.
Even more impressive, they did it without their Wallabies stars James O'Connor (injured) and Kurtley Beale (suspended).
It looked like Melbourne were in line for more heartbreak when they trailed 21-20 heading into the final 10 minutes, but the TV match official Matt Goddard ruled a penalty try that gave them the lead.
Halfback Nick Phipps grubbered the ball ahead and was held back by Stormers hooker Martin Bezuidenhout, who grabbed his jumper as they raced to the ball over the tryline.
Goddard said it was foul play and that Phipps would have likely scored, with referee Mike Fraser awarding the try and yellow carding the No.2.
Fullback Jason Woodward converted and minutes later added a penalty to seal the win.
The Stormers will be ruing four possible chances to kick for a penalty goal in the second half as they went for tries but came up empty-handed.
The Stormers led 14-13 at halftime, although the Rebels got first points through their inspirational skipper Scott Higginbotham, scoring his sixth try of the season.
The visitors' tries came through halfback Louis Schreuder, who pushed aside some flimsy defence and former Springboks winger Bryan Habana.
Melbourne Rebels pulled off a major upset without many of their key players (video only available in Australia)
Melbourne lock Hugh Pyle gave his side the lead with a try in the 52nd minute but again the Stormers hit back, with Test locks Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker combining to score out wide.
That handed the Cape Town-based team a 21-20 lead, which they held until the controversial penalty try.
Higginbotham said it was a fantastic performance by his team.
"They pushed up but we hung in there and played a great brand of footy," he said.
Stormers captain Jean De Villiers was bitterly disappointed, describing his team's performance as "embarrassing".
It means the Stormers return to South Africa with only one win from four games in New Zealand and Australia.