SPORTS

Lomani, Toomua Fail To Spark Rebels

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani made his Super Rugby debut but could not help his Melbourne Rebels side as they went down 36-27 to Sunwolves in Japan on Saturday.
03 Feb 2020 12:27
Lomani, Toomua Fail To Spark Rebels
Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani (left) as they go on attack against Sunwolves in their Super Rugby opener at Fukuoka, Japan on February 1, 2020. Photo: Fox Sports

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani made his Super Rugby debut but could not help his Melbourne Rebels side as they went down 36-27 to Sunwolves in Japan on Saturday.

His pairing with first five eight Matt Toomua will take time to work as it was their first outing together.

They are the Rebels’ new halves pairing following the off-season departures of former Wallabies Will Genia and Quade Cooper.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels wasn’t panicking after the game, saying that a short preseason factored into some disappointing elements.

“Super Rugby’s a long season and we haven’t played the way we wanted to in all parts of the game today but we’ve got a short turnaround into playing the Brumbies in Canberra next week so we have some work to do over the next few days,” he said.

“All teams in Super Rugby have only been together for a few weeks so the game was never going to be perfect but there are certainly some things in the game that we did like and something we were disappointed about.”

Despite a belated comeback with two late tries, the Rebels left their run too late in Fukuoka against a team that’s being booted out of the competition at the end of the season.

It’s the first time the Sunwolves have won the opening game of a season and just their ninth overall victory in their fifth campaign.

Melbourne won all five previous meetings against the Sunwolves.

While the Rebels had eight debutants in their new-look squad, the Sunwolves only came together as an entire squad last month to prepare for the season under new coach Naoya Okubo.

The hosts took the game away from the visitors in an attacking first half, hanging on to the bulk of possession and leading 22-13 at the break to get the Japanese crowd roaring.

ROUND 1 RESULTS

Crusaders 43-25 Waratahs, Stormers 27-0 Hurricanes, Sharks 23-15 Bulls, Sunwolves 36-27 Rebels, Jaguares 38-8 Lions, Blues 29-37 Chiefs, Brumbies 27-24 Reds.

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

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