Super Rugby: Melbourne Rebels beat Queensland Reds 30-27 in Brisbane
Last Updated: 17/05/14 2:24pm
Luke Burgess scored two tries as the Melbourne Rebels recorded their first victory against the Queensland Reds, winning 30-27 at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors travelled to Brisbane having never beaten the Reds since the franchise's inception in 2011.
However, their wretched record against their Australian conference rivals was reversed as scrum-half Burgess crossed the whitewash twice, while winger Tim Kingston also dotted down and full-back Jason Woodward struck 15 points from the kicking tee.
Mike Harris contributed 15 points, including the game's opening try, while Greg Holmes and replacement Ben Lucas both crossed but it was not enough to save the Reds, who lost Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper for a month after he damaged his AC joint.
The ending was marred by a late red card for Reds replacement Ed O'Donoghue, who was clearly seen forcing his hands into the eyes of Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham.
It looked like it was Higginbotham himself who was to be game's sinner as he was shown a first-minute yellow card when his shoulder connected with the jaw of Harris.
The hosts made their personnel advantage pay as they drove a line-out maul towards the line before Harris took over to slip through the gap and touch down in the second minute.
Cooper slotted the conversion but it turned out to be his last act of the match as he was forced off five minutes later, clutching his shoulder.
Rebels full-back Woodward notched his first penalty of the match to get the visitors on the board and they raced into the lead moments later.
A quick tap-and-go penalty allowed the Rebels to work the ball down field and when Woodward was tackled, he popped the ball up for winger Kingston to latch on and fly over for their first try.
The Reds levelled the scores when Harris struck from the tee, but parity was short-lived, with Rebels scrum-half Burgess picking the ball off the back of the ruck and slipping three defenders on his way over the line.
Reds used their forward power to hit back at the Rebels and when they won a scrum deep into opposition territory, prop Holmes crashed through to bring the hosts within two.
Harris' conversion ensured the sides, who entered the match level on 17 points in the Super Rugby table, went into the break locked at 17-17.
Leaving their customary kicking game behind, the Rebels raced into the lead moments after the restart as they spun the ball side-to-side before Burgess found space to race under the posts.
Woodward added the extras but the Reds forced their way back into the ascendancy as the second period wore on.
After a period of sustained pressure, the Rebels defence eventually caved as Lucas, who came on to replace the injured Cooper, slid over and Harris' conversion set up a tense finale.
Then came the controversial ending as the Reds had penalty advantage when O'Donoghue entered a fracas off the ball with Higginbotham and referee Steve Walsh had no option but to reverse the decision after consulting the TMO.
Replays clearly showed the Irish lock press his fingers into the eyes of the Rebels back row and was subsequently dismissed, leaving Woodward a straightforward penalty to seal an historic victory for the visitors.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 14
Reds captain James Horwill has been fined $2,500 and ordered to apologise after criticising match officials.
The Cheetahs sprung a 27-21 upset over the Brumbies in Bloemfontein thanks to 22 points from fly-half Johan Goosen.
Stormers moved off the foot of the Super Rugby table with a shock 24-8 victory over play-off contenders Western Force.