13 May 2012

Rebels overhaul Crusaders 28-19 in stunning upset

7:15 am on 13 May 2012

The Melbourne Rebels' coach Damien Hill has described last night's super rugby victory over the Crusaders as the best performance his team has ever put together.

His side scored two second half tries in four minutes to stun the Crusaders and secure a rousing 28-19 home victory.

The Crusaders' shock loss weakened their position in the southern hemisphere provincial tournament's top six and was compounded by injury to number eight enforcer Kieran Read, who limped off the turf at the start of the last quarter after a heavy fall in a lineout.

The Crusaders held a 19-10 lead at halftime, but Nick Phipps' 66th-minute try and Stirling Mortlock's five-pointer shortly after broke the game open, and the Rebels marched to their finest victory since joining the 15-team tournament last year.

The Rebels' defence stayed resolute for the final 10 minutes and flanker Richie McCaw fumbled the ball after the siren to conclude the match and cap a disappointing night for the Crusaders' captain in his first start of the season.

The Rebels' Welsh captain Gareth Delve says to hold the Crusaders scoreless in the second half is a huge confidence booster.

The Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says there was no complacency amongst his players and his decision to leave some stars on the bench wasn't because they felt the Rebels would be easy pickings.

He says his team should never have let their 19-10 lead slip and allowed the opposition back into the game through silly mistakes.