July 24, 2020 / 11:23 AM / 16 days ago

Road warrior Rebels down woeful Waratahs in Sydney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Melbourne Rebels got their first success on their enforced road trip when they beat the New South Wales Waratahs 29-10 in a scrappy, penalty-strewn Super Rugby AU contest at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

Nearly a month after leaving their homes to hit the road ahead of the lockdown of the southern state of Victoria because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Rebels finally notched a win after a loss and a draw in their previous two matches.

Tries from scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens and winger Marika Koroibete along with 19 points from the boot of flyhalf Matt Toomua were enough for a convincing victory in front of the small crowd allowed in the stadium.

The Waratahs had only themselves to blame for their third defeat in four matches in the competition, giving away the lion’s share of the 25 penalties awarded and losing forwards Michael Hooper and Jed Holloway to spells in the sin bin.

Waratahs winger Alex Newsome scored the opening try of the match in the eighth minute when he intercepted a Reece Hodge pass and raced 25 metres to touch down.

Toomua’s kicking kept the Rebels in the contest, though, and when Louwrens forced his way over the line after a five-metre scrum, they were able to take a 19-10 lead into the break.

The Rebels dominated the second half but could not make the most of their chances and the next score did not come until the 71st minute with Toomua’s fifth penalty.

Wallabies winger Koroibete crossed two minutes from time to seal the victory, the first time in the club’s short history that the Rebels had won back-to-back fixtures against Australia’s best-resourced team.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Toby Davis

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