Melbourne – Demetri Catrakilis slotted a drop goal after the siren to hand the Southern Kings a last-gasp 30-27 win over the Melbourne Rebels in their Super Rugby match on Saturday.
The Rebels dominated possession and held a seven-point lead in the final minutes but squandered their chance to close out victory with a series of bumbling errors at Melbourne's AAMI Park stadium.
Rebels' substitute Jordy Reid was sent off for collapsing a maul five minutes before the whistle and the Kings capitalised moments later with another fierce rolling maul that put flanker Wimpie van der Walt over the line.
Catrakilis slotted the conversion to level the score at 27-27 with three minutes to play and Rebels fans groaned as winger Jason Woodward booted the ball into touch on the restart to hand the Kings the scrum at the halfway line.
With the terraces at 'The Stockade' roaring, Catrakilis found space and coolly slotted the drop goal from short range to secure his side their second win of their debut season in the southern hemisphere competition.
“Just character, I think the boys showed a lot of fight today,” Kings captain Andries Strauss said in a pitchside interview.
“We knew that if we got our hands on the ball we could score and win the game. All credit to the boys, they fought hard and they deserve this one.”
Catrakilis boot prolonged the Rebels' winless record against South Africa sides since joining the southern hemisphere competition in 2011 and all but put paid to their playoff hopes.
The Rebels dominated territory and led 27-17 with less than half an hour to play when outside centre Mitch Inman scored their third try but they were unable to find a killer blow and struggled with handling errors throughout.
The Kings, who stunned the competition-leading ACT Brumbies with a last-gasp try to snatch a draw in Canberra last week, shocked the Rebels with two tries in the opening 15 minutes to march out to 14-0 lead.
Winger Ronnie Cooke crossed in the left corner after nine minutes and scrumhalf Shaun Venter had the Kings' second when he bamboozled a pair of Rebels defenders on a long sprint to the right corner six minutes later.
The Rebels dragged themselves back in the match through tries to hooker Ged Robinson and replacement back Angus Roberts, with flyhalf James O'Connor slotting a tight conversion kick on the halftime siren to put his team level at 17-17.
Inman crossed for the Rebels in the corner after a sustained bout of pressure, but O'Connor's conversion in the 53rd minute was to be the hosts' final score.
Catrakilis missed a regulation penalty goal with 10 minutes left to put his side within a try of victory but brilliantly made amends by nervelessly slotting his last two kicks to get his team over the line. – Reuters