Beaten Rebels see better times ahead - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beaten Rebels see better times ahead

Adrian Warren 22/05/2011 12:51:31 PM Comments (0)

The Melbourne Rebels insist they can see light at the end of the tunnel despite a 41-21 loss to the Cheetahs condemning them to a winless overseas record in their first Super Rugby season.

The 14th-placed Rebels crashed to a sixth successive loss and their defeat in Bloemfontein completed an 0 from 4 tally in matches in South Africa and New Zealand.

The Cheetahs scored five tries to three, with the Rebels leaking 40 or more points for the sixth time this season.

The match ended on a sour note with Cheetahs winger Ryno Benjamin sent off in the 75th minute for head-butting Rebels' skipper Stirling Mortlock who was sin-binned for throwing a retaliatory punch.

The Cheetahs finished with 13 men after fullback Riaan Viljoen was binned right at the end for an early tackle on Melbourne prop Greg Somerville, an action that prompted a penalty try to be awarded.

The Rebels cause wasn't helped by the late withdrawal of five-eighth Julian Huxley due to a virus.

His replacement James Hilgendorf hurt an ankle, while promising lock Hugh Pyle and hooker Ged Robinson also picked up knocks.

The Cheetahs led 21-7 at halftime and the Rebels were never able to reduce the deficit to a single-digit margin.

Melbourne looked dangerous early and had a decent share of possession and territory, but conceded too many penalties and turnovers and were punished for their mistakes and poor ball control.

When the Rebels did control possession, they proved they could score well constructed tries - Robinson finished off a slick lineout move in the first half and impressive centre Mark Gerrard crossed after the break.

"The light at the end of the tunnel for us is that when it clicks it's very good," Melbourne assistant coach Damien Hill told AAP.

"It's just these individuals who we have brought from all over the world, getting to know each other better.

"More time together and hopefully those little errors will start to fade away."

Hill was pleased with the Rebels run-on debut of former Force flanker Luke Jones.

Melbourne have a bye next week before finishing their inaugural season with three games in Australia, two of them at home.

"The bye has come at a very good time and there are a number of players who will really benefit from that," Hill said.

Rod Macqueen's assistant indicated England Test five-eighth Danny Cipriani, who was left at home following off-field disciplinary breaches, could push for a recall following the bye.

"Danny is a very talented player and he's been training well back in Melbourne, so as long as he's fit, he will definitely come into contention," Hill said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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