A Will Genia-inspired Melbourne Rebels roared back from 19-3 down at halftime to stun the Brumbies on Friday.
The Rebels looked down and out, but a brace from Jack Maddocks and tries by Genia and Marika Koroibete, coupled with the trusty boot of Quade Cooper, handed them an unlikely 29-26 win at AAMI Park.
It allowed them to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, and overshadowed Folau Fainga’a becoming the first Brumbies forward to score tries in four consecutive games.
“It was a really tight and tough contest,” said Genia after the Rebels’ second win of the season over the Canberra-based team.
“The one thing we spoke about at halftime was just keep our composure, because we knew we would get our opportunity.
“We spoke about when we did get our opportunity, to play at speed, because that is our point of difference.”
The Brumbies, coming off a heavy defeat to the Hurricanes last weekend, were by far the better side in the first half, with Henry Speight bursting down the wing for the breakthrough on 17 minutes.
Cooper converted a easy penalty to pull three points back, but when Adam Coleman was yellow carded for offside, the Brumbies took full advantage, snatching another try from a lineout drive – with hooker Fainga’a flopping over to set his own little piece of history.
Then in a rolling maul on the halftime hooter, Matt Gibbon ripped the ball from the hands of Fainga’a as he went for the line and gave away a seven-point penalty try.
He got 10 minutes in the sin-bin, leaving the Rebels to start the second half a man down.
But they were pumped up, and Koroibete shrugged off three tackles to get a try within a minute of the restart.
And when Maddocks crossed in the corner 10 minutes later, it was game on at 19-15.
Rebels v Brumbies | Super Rugby 2019 Rd 4 Highlights— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) March 8, 2019
A superb @MelbourneRebels comeback in the second half was enough to overhaul the @BrumbiesRugby in Melbourne. Jack Maddocks starred with a double for the hosts.#SuperRugby #REBvBRU pic.twitter.com/liFUXaSjYY
Rob Valetini extended the Brumbies lead, before the crafty Genia took a quick tap penalty and darted between the posts.
Genia directed the action, and when Maddocks got his second try to finally put them in front with 10 minutes left, there was no way back for the Brumbies.