Rebels snap Waratahs hoodoo to open account
THE Melbourne Rebels have snapped their Waratahs' hoodoo and their winless start to the Super Rugby season with a 24-10 win at AAMI Park.
Both teams were searching for their first victory heading into the Round 3 match but the Rebels emerged from the driving rain with the hard-earned points.
The Waratahs had won six of their past seven matches in Melbourne dating back to 2013, and 15 of their past 17 overall, making the victory all the sweeter for the home side.
Melbourne led 8-5 at half-time with a new halves combination in Ryan Louwrens and Matt Toomua steering the ship with aplomb.
The kicking game of Toomua and fullback Dane Haylett-Petty gave the Rebels a big advantage over the Sydneysiders.
They were rocked before kick-off when they had to change their bench and drag Fijian Test halfback Frank Lomani after coach Dave Wessels was told by Rugby Australia they had too many internationals in their match-day squad.
They then lost Test back Reece Hodge to a groin strain 19 minutes in, but his replacement, Andrew Kellaway, finished with two late tries to seal the win.
With both teams struggling in the conditions, Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete was the only try-scorer in the first half.
The Rebels looked to have scored another just before the break but the TMO ruled Koroibete had obstructed the defence as Bill Meakes touched down.
The Waratahs took the lead in the 45th minute when prop Harry Johnson-Holmes barrelled over but it lasted only two minutes before Melbourne hit back through a successful penalty.
Kellaway's efforts then secured a much-needed win for his team.