“That was ugly,” said Blues skipper Ali Williams, whose team took five points from the encounter to stay very much in the playoff race. “First 20 minutes we played like we should play. Then individuals, probably led by me, played [rubbish]. As a team, probably need to take a good look at ourselves.”
The Rebels were already without Kurtley Beale after the Wallabies back was stood down for disciplinary reasons in midweek and will be hoping the injury to O’Connor is not serious.
Rebels No. 8 Scott Higginbotham did his chances of facing the Lions no harm at all with another inspirational performance as captain, running in a brilliant solo try in the first half.
It was a try from Lachie Mitchell along with a second of the match for his fellow center Mitch Inman and a penalty from fullback Jason Woodward, however, that pulled the Rebels to within four points of the Blues with 14 minutes to go.
Ranger went over for a converted try with a clever move from the side of the ruck after 71 minutes to make the score 36-25.
There was still time for Woodward to crash over to give the Rebels a second bonus point, but the chance of a third win of the season was gone.
HURRICANES 39, CHEETAHS 34
The Hurricanes made it third-time lucky against South African sides when they beat the Cheetahs 39-34 on Friday.
Successive defeats by the Stormers and Bulls effectively ended the New Zealand team’s chances of reaching the finals stage, but they were much improved against the Cheetahs, outscoring them four tries to three.