Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light as Canes run away in second half to beat heroic Rebels


The Hurricanes will continue through to a home semi-final – but they had their work cut out against a resilient Melbourne Rebels.

The 47-20 scoreline suggests a one-sided affair, however anyone who watched knew it was anything but. 

The hosts were heavy favourites coming into the match, and with over 65% possession, many were stunned that they only led 14-6 at halftime, as the Rebels finals gee-up over the week saw them put on a heroic defensive display, plus cause all sorts of problems at the lineout and scrum.

However, as the second half the realities of their season caught up with the visitors, as defensive fatigue combined with the Canes’ impressive depth finally saw the home side reap the reward for their attacking tenacity to run out to a 35-6 lead. 

Carter Gordon of the Rebels and Brett Cameron of the Hurricanes compete for a loose ball during the Super Rugby Pacific Quarter Final match between Hurricanes and Melbourne Rebels at Sky Stadium, on June 08, 2024, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Rebels finally got some ball in the second half and saw a double to Lachie Anderson, which saw the visitors potentially in line for a photo finish. 

However, two late tries to Du’Plessis Kirifi and Kini Naholo put the result beyond doubt for the home side. 

Emotions quickly boiled over at full time, with players, fans and the coaching staff all close to tears at the realisation the season – and the Rebels, for the foreseeable future – was over.

However, despite the result, captain Rob Leota was proud of the effort.

“This was our goal from the start of the year,” he said post-match.

“We were talking about being the greatest Rebels team ever, so to make the finals.

“Obviously losing, we’re not satisfied with that, but we had high hopes to go further. But when you give a quality opposition like the Hurricanes opportunities like that, it’s hard to come back, so congrats to the Canes.”

More to come. 

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