Melbourne – Queensland Reds came from behind to beat the Melbourne Rebels 23-13 in their Super 15 Australian derby and keep in touch of conference leaders ACT Brumbies on Friday.
The 2011 Super Rugby Champions scored two tries to one with Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper proving the difference with two conversions and three penalties.
The Reds have yet to lose to the Rebels in five encounters but trailed 13-10 at halftime when centre Lachlan Mitchell scored off a delayed James O'Connor pass right on the halftime siren.
But Queensland quickly regained the lead with youngster Nick Frisby, deputising for injured Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia, dashing over in the left corner two minutes after the resumption.
The Rebels had plenty of possession but Cooper ensured the Reds would take home all four competition points with further penalty goals in the 60th and 79th minutes for Queensland's third win in four outings this season.
“We still haven't put in an 80-minute performance this year and we'll be disappointed with that,” Reds skipper James Slipper said.
“In patches we played well, but overall we just kept the Rebels in the game.
“But you can't take anything away from the character of the team, defence sets the tone of the match and the way we scrambled in defence on our own line is second to none.”
Centre Ben Tapuai scored with a big step in a close-range try for the Reds in the 16th minute and hooker Saia Faingaa bombed a certain try minutes later when he spilled the ball over the try-line.
O'Connor engineered the Rebels reply with a sleight of hand pass drawing in a defender before sending Mitchell racing over in the final moments of the opening half.
Melbourne's only win of the season was in round one against the Western Force when they trailed at halftime. They also lost when the ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs came from behind.
“We talked a lot this week about our second half performance and we talked about playing minute by minute and playing to our game plan... we did it better, but hey, we lost again,” Rebels skipper Ged Robinson said.
“We only had about 30 percent possession in the first half and we're talked that if we can just get 50-50 possession we're in the game and we can win and it's something we need to work on.”
The Reds have another Australian derby next week against the Western Force at home, while the Rebels have a bye. – Sapa-AFP