Courageous Melbourne gain unsuitable the Crusaders’ Colossal Rugby Trans-Tasman birthday party despite going down 52-26 in their final spherical conflict at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Playing for a voice in the 2-workforce final, the Original Zealand champions desired to beat undermanned Melbourne by a minimum of 33 points and purchase up a bonus point to overtake the Highlanders on points differential.
The Crusaders’ Test winger Sevu Reece scored a hat-trick to relieve snare the bonus point nonetheless the margin wasn’t ample to peek his workforce cement a finals berth.
The Blues later beat the Western Force to jump-frog into first and can gain to gentle host the Highlanders in Auckland subsequent Saturday.
Winger Leicester Fainga’anuku practically obtained the job accomplished with a try in the 74th minute nonetheless it turned into ruled a double motion.
The shell-disturbed Crusaders regarded enjoy they’d suffered their first lack of the competition with Reece saying the gamers were devastated.
“We will own the win nonetheless at the same time loads of heads are down; there is some now now not so contented boys out there,” Reece informed Stan Sport.
The Kiwis obtained off to the finest that it is seemingly you’ll perhaps be ready to imagine begin, running in two tries in the opening 5 minutes by way of halfback Mitchell Drummond after which fullback Will Jordan.
However the Rebels climbed off the canvas with lock Trevor Hosea crashing over the line in the 14th minute.
Yet any other two Crusaders tries between the 19th and 21st minutes again put an infinite dent in Melbourne’s hopes of an upset nonetheless they refused to head away.
With the Crusaders losing Jordan to a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown, Rebels halfback Joe Powell backed himself and dashed by way of the defence to dot down for a 26-12 scoreline.
It regarded enjoy the Crusaders would add one other try upright on halftime nonetheless centre Braydon Ennor bizarrely spilt the ball with the large line inaugurate.
Rebels winger Andrew Kellaway then served up one other blow early in the second half of when he tackled a flying Jordan into touch because the Test ace dived during the tryline.
Each groups continued to play with an attacking mindset, with Reece adding two more tries whereas young centre Glen Vaihu turned into among the scorers for the Rebels in his first begin.
It turned into a frantic finish with the Crusaders needing a transformed try with seven minutes remaining, nonetheless the Rebels showed fighting spirit to maintain them out.
With Matt Toomua injured, Rebels stand-in skipper Michael Wells acknowledged he turned into contented with the sigh nonetheless now now not the end result.
“Or now now not it is a ways a outlandish one – it is seemingly you’ll perhaps be contented every person retains rocking up every week nonetheless in truth we are zero and 5 in this match and we will have the opportunity to gain to be better,” Wells acknowledged.
“Or now now not it is a ways a correct workforce and we gain obtained the makings of something nonetheless we gain obtained to inform it.”