Heartbreak for Melbourne Rebels in last-ever Super Rugby match


Anderson, 26, said in a trembling voice: “This club was one of the best years of my career.”

“It's a special group of guys. We've been together for three or four years.

Final Call: Devan Flanders of the Hurricanes scores a try.credit: Getty Images

“We're talking about playing a brand of rugby that will interest people and anyone who has supported us over the last two, three, four years; [have] “I saw this.”

He said the group of players were focused on the right way to write the club's “final chapter”, as long as it happened in the Super Rugby finals.

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“So whenever it was, today, next week or the final, we talked about we could finish it the way we wanted to. You saw the passion in that performance tonight, especially the first 20 minutes.

“I'm so proud of the boys, the adversity we faced on and off the field, and the way we came together.”

Melbourne threw everything at the Hurricanes early and troubled the hosts with their fast defence.

They became the first team this season to prevent the Hurricanes from scoring in the opening 20 minutes, twice holding the hosts over the goal line with some desperate defending.

But the Rebels' 3-0 lead evaporated four minutes later when Basilio Tosi fell over the goal line.

Another Rebels penalty cut the deficit to 7-6, but Carter Gordon missed the mark twice with clear layups and the Hurricanes went into intermission up 14-6, with center Joshua Morby finding an opening to score in the 39th minute.

Rebels' Filippo Dogono and Lachie Anderson react at the final whistle.credit: Getty Images

The Wellington men also scored the first goal of the second half, with All Black's Jordie Barrett evading a challenge from Rob Leota before finding No.8 Brayden Ewes.

Two more tries in three minutes meant there was a mountain to climb for the Rebels, as they led 35-6 after 57 minutes.

Anderson finally opened the Rebels' try tally in the 65th minute when he raced on to a pass from his captain Leota.

He returned two minutes later after an attack from Melbourne back-rower Fayoleni Ekwasi.

Two late tries from the Hurricanes, scored by reserves Du'Plessis Kirifi and Kini Naholo, sparked a blowout scoreline, with their side advancing to next week's semi-finals.

AAP, with Scott Speights



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