Rebels steal late win
Beale strikes to deny Force
Last Updated: 20/05/12 11:52am
Kurtley Beale struck a late penalty to snatch a nail-biting 32-31 victory for the Rebels over the Western Force on Sunday.
With Beale in mesmerising touch, Melbourne ran in four tries to two in the first half of their Super Rugby clash at NIB Stadium to lead 26-15 at half-time.
The Force tightened up their defence after the break, eventually taking the lead for the first time in the 73rd minute with a Ben Seymour penalty.
But with three minutes to go the Force conceded a scrum penalty and, not to be outdone, the in-form Beale calmly landed the match-winner from a tight angle.
The Rebels may be out of finals contention, but their bonus-point win in this game enabled them to leapfrog the Waratahs into third spot in the Australian Conference table.
The Victorian outfit picked up where they left off last week against the Crusaders, with second-rower Cadeyrn Neville charging onto a deft Nick Phipps pass to crash over for a converted try in the just the fourth minute of play.
Force full-back Dave Harvey was unsuccessful with his first penalty attempt but had no trouble with a simple shot in the 16th minute to leave the home side trailing 7-3.
Strong lead-up play from Beale and winger Mark Gerrard paved the way for the Rebels' second try in the 21st minute, with skipper Gareth Delve scoring in the left corner off a pin-point Julian Huxley pass.
Beale landed the sideline conversion to push Melbourne out to a 14-3 lead.
The Perth-based side grabbed a much-needed try a couple of minutes later when winger Napolioni Nalaga carried defenders over the line, but Harvey missed the easy conversion.
Melbourne hit back almost immediately though, when Gerrard snaffled the ball from the restart, leading to Neville securing his second try in the left corner a few phases later.
Beale's radar from wide out was on target again to give the Rebels a 21-8 lead after 27 minutes before Force second-rower Ben McCalman fought his way over on the half-hour to reduce the deficit to six points.
But the Rebels had the final say of the opening period when former NRL player Cooper Vuna steamrolled Dave Harvey to score in the left corner after some slick passing from Beale and Huxley.
Force replacement Alfie Mafi did it all himself five minutes after the resumption to bring the hosts closer at 26-22 behind.
And a blow-up in the scrum eight minutes later saw Rebels prop Rodney Blake placed on report and penalised, allowing Force half-back Brett Sheehan to land a long-range penalty and cut the arrears to one.
Beale and Seymour traded penalties to maintain the one-point margin in favour of the visitors.
But a costly yellow card to forward Matt Hodgson on 69 minutes saw Force reduced to 14 men for virtually the remainder of the game.
Nevertheless, the home side hit the lead for the first time with seven minutes to go when Seymour booted a simple three-pointer after the Rebels were caught offside.
But, with three minutes to go Beale struck home from a sharp angle to steal the win and confirm back-to-back victories for the Rebels for the first time in 2012.