SPORTS

Naivalu 2 sees Rebels run riot

Melbourne Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu scored twice as they romped to a 45-19 win at the AAMI Park on Friday night. The Reds made a shocking start to their Super
25 Feb 2018 20:17
Naivalu 2 sees Rebels run riot
Melbourne Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu runs in to score his first try afainst Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby operner at the AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, on February 23, 2018. Photo: Zimbio

Melbourne Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu scored twice as they romped to a 45-19 win at the AAMI Park on Friday night.

The Reds made a shocking start to their Super Rugby season when skipper Scott Higginbotham was sent off in the ninth minute of their loss to the Rebels.

In his debut as Reds captain, Higgin­botham was sent off for a dangerous shoulder charge after just nine minutes in the 45-19 loss to the Melbourne Rebels.

When lock Lukhan Tui followed him with a yellow card for a tip tackle on Re­bels halfback Will Genia, it spelt the end for Queensland with the home side run­ning in three tries against their 13-man defence.

Higginbotham said it was an everyday tackle, although the burly No.8 didn’t attempt to use his arms and there was heavy contact to the head.

I was just going in for a tackle,” Higgin­botham said post-match at AAMI Park.

“A two-man tackle, one bloke goes low, one goes high.

“We practise that in pre-season and I’ve been doing it for 12 years. There’s not a lot of things harder than sitting there for 70 minutes.”

Coach Brad Thorn said he believed the referee Brendon Pickerill was trying his best, but felt it was a “big call” with 70 minutes to play.

Centres Duncan Paia’aua and Samu Kerevi both crossed for early tries while winger Chris Feauai-Sautia added one in the second half.

But they ran out of steam after having to defend for so long a man down as the Rebels grew in stature.

Thorn said there was still a lot to like.

“They worked really hard in defence but our composure and ball control got tested,” the former All Black told Sydney Morning Herald.

“They’re a young group and they fought really well and I was quite proud of them, we just need to tidy up here and there.”

The Reds next host the Brumbies next Friday night.

SCORERS:

MELBOURNE REBELS– 45 (Debreczeni 2, Haylett-Petty 2, Naivalu2, Tom English tries; Debreczeni 5 cons)

QUEENSLAND REDS- 19 (Feauai-Sautia, Kerevi, Paia’aua tries; Tuttle 2 cons).-

Edited by Anasilini Ratuva

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