Will Genia yesterday inspired the Melbourne Rebels to roar back from 19-3 down at halftime to stun the Brumbies, while All Black Beauden Barrett kicked a last-gasp penalty to hand the Wellington Hurricanes a narrow win.
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.
In blustery Wellington, the Hurricanes scraped past the Otago Highlanders 25-22 as try machine Ngani Laumape crossed twice to make it five in two matches.
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 line-out drive with hooker Folau Fainga’a flopping over to become the first Brumbies forward to score tries in four consecutive games.
In a rolling maul at 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.
However, they were pumped up and Koroibete shrugged off three tackles to get a try within a minute of the restart.
When Jack Maddocks crossed in the corner 10 minutes later, it was game on at 19-15.
Rob Valetini extended the Brumbies’ lead before crafty Genia took a quick-tap penalty and darted between the posts.
When Maddocks got his second try to finally put them in front with 10 minutes left, there was no way back for the Brumbies.
In Wellington, the scores were locked 22-22 at the final siren and the match hinged on a penalty awarded against Highlanders lock Jackson Hemopo for hands in the ruck, which Barrett slotted nervelessly from in front of the posts.
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