A fine individual try from Jason Woodward 11 minutes from time gave the Melbourne Rebels a 30-23 victory over the Western Force in a battle of the Australian Super Rugby strugglers at Perth Oval yesterday.
The New Zealand-born winger’s score was his second try of the match and gave the Rebels a second victory of the season, by the same score and against the same opponents as their first, back in their season-opener in February.
Woodward, who also had a try disallowed, sold a dummy to ease past one defender, then put a chip-kick over the head of Sam Norton-Knight and won the foot race to touch down behind the try line and break a 23-23 deadlock.
The Rebels also had tries from lock Hugh Pyle and Richard Kingi to finish off their three-match road trip on a high, after shipping 15 tries in two heavy defeats in South Africa.
The Rebels raced out of the blocks and were 15-0 up inside 20 minutes, after Pyle had barged his way over to score in the corner and Woodward took advantage of a slip by Force fullback Will Tupou to grab his first score.
However, the home side forced their way back into the contest and center Winston Stanley rewarded them for a long period of pressure with a try in the corner after 34 minutes.
Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn missed his first two kicks, but made no mistake with two penalties in the last couple of minutes of the half to cut the deficit to 15-11 at the break.
The Rebels also started the second half well after James O’Connor moved from fullback to flyhalf, and it was his short pass that put Kingi in to score after 51 minutes.
O’Connor added a penalty seven minutes later to put the visitors 23-11 ahead, but the Force hit back straight away with Tupou barging over after picking the ball up from a ruck.
Woodward was denied a try two minutes later when O’Connor’s flick pass was adjudged forward by the TV official and on 66 minutes, Force winger Pat Dellit raced through to grab Stanley’s grubber kick at the second attempt and level the scores.
However, Woodward was not to be denied again and his brilliant individual effort proved to be the last score of the match.
HURRICANES v WARATAHS
A second-half burst gave the Wellington Hurricanes maximum points over the New South Wales Waratahs with a 41-29 victory in their clash yesterday.
At halftime a bonus point seemed out of the question because a lack of discipline by both sides saw rival kickers Beauden Barrett and Brendan McKibbin dominating the scoreboard.
The Hurricanes led 19-16 at the turn from four penalties and a converted try, to three penalties and a converted try for the Waratahs.
However, after the resumption of play, the game burst open as the Hurricanes pounced on turnover ball to punish the Waratahs with three quick tries to take a commanding lead.
The Waratahs recovered to bag two tries of their own, but were denied a fourth try and the prospect of two bonus points when Michael Hooper was forced out in the corner on full-time.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Conrad Smith-led Hurricanes and propelled them from ninth to fifth on the congested ladder, while the Waratahs remain in 10th place.
SHARKS V CRUSADERS
AFP, DURBAN, South Africa
Patrick Lambie succeeded with all seven penalty-kicks to earn the Coastal Sharks of South Africa a 21-17 victory over the Canterbury Crusaders of New Zealand in a thriller on Friday.
The Springbok flyhalf landed three in the first half, which ended with the visitors 11-9 ahead, and a further four during the second 40 minutes to give the Sharks only their third win in 17 clashes between the sides.
Rival pivot Tyler Bleyendaal, deputizing for the unavailable Dan Carter, landed only four of seven penalty attempts and also fluffed the conversion of the only try of the match, scored by scrumhalf Andy Ellis.
Victory lifted the third-place Sharks to 25 points on the combined standings — four less than joint leaders the Waikato Chiefs of New Zealand and the ACT Brumbies of Australia.
It also stretched their lead to six points over the Northern Bulls at the top of the South African conference, with surprise side the Central Cheetahs a further point adrift.
The New Zealanders looked likely winners for much of the opening half as they ran the ball at every opportunity, with center Robbie Fruean masterminding many threatening moves.
However, the Sharks hung in and got on top as the second half progressed, while the visitors tired as their second tour match drew to a close after a five-point victory over the Western Stormers in Cape Town last weekend.