1 Mar 2014

Rebels trample over Cheetahs for winning start

6:12 am on 1 March 2014

The Melbourne Rebels opened their Super Rugby season in style with five tries and a dominant 35-14 win over the visiting Cheetahs.

After waiting three weeks of the competition for their opening match, the Rebels made a flying start with three unanswered tries to winger Lachlan Mitchell, fullback Jason Woodward and halfback Luke Burgess carrying the hosts to a 17-0 halftime lead.

First-five Bryce Hegarty secured the Rebels a bonus point with a fourth try after replacement Jean Cook finally put the Cheetahs on the board four minutes after the break.

A rolling maul pushed replacement prop Rayno Barnes over the line in the 70th minute and Goosen's conversion put the Cheetahs within 10 points, but replacement back Angus Roberts put the result beyond doubt with a drop goal and penalty kick in the final minutes.

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham then iced the cake for the hosts with a dart to the right corner after the final hooter, capping a superb team try set up from deep in the Cheetahs half.