Kellaway sinks Waratahs to get Rebels off the mark, Crusaders bounce back

By Sports Desk February 14, 2020

The Rebels claimed their first Super Rugby win of 2020 as replacement Andrew Kellaway claimed two decisive late tries to earn a 24-10 win over his former club, the Waratahs.

Kellaway, who came on in the first half when Reece Hodge picked up an injury, crossed twice in the final six minutes of a game played in driving rain at AAMI Park.

That enabled the Rebels to record a first triumph over the Waratahs since 2016 and get off the mark for the season following away defeats to the Sunwolves and Brumbies.

Rebels wing Marika Koroibete claimed the only try of the first period, after Matt Toomua and Will Harrison had exchanged penalties, but Harry Johnson-Holmes responded for the Tahs six minutes after the interval.

Harrison's conversion briefly nudged the visitors ahead, but a Toomua penalty put the Rebels back in front and the fly-half split the posts again to make it 14-10 before Kellaway's late scores.

In Friday's other fixture, the Crusaders bounced back from their loss to the Chiefs with a convincing 25-8 win over the Blues at Eden Park.

All four tries in the contest were scored by All Blacks, with Patrick Tuipulotu's early touchdown for the Blues offset by five-pointers from George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga and Jack Goodhue.

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    Scotland eased some of the pressure on head coach Gregor Townsend by getting off the mark in the Six Nations with a 17-0 away win over Italy.

    Townsend has come under fire after a poor start to the tournament for Scotland, who lost their opening two games against Ireland and England without scoring a try.

    Captain Stuart Hogg ended that drought to put Scotland ahead at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, and Chris Harris' second-half effort made it a 10-point gap that proved well beyond the hosts, who conceded a third try to Adam Hastings in the last minute.

    The score was Scotland's largest win in Rome but there was still plenty unconvincing about their performance and Townsend will still have plenty of work to do to win over the doubters, while Italy appear destined for another wooden spoon.

    Scotland spent much of the opening exchanges on the backfoot after Hastings missed what looked a simple early penalty as Italy made the majority of the early running.

    For all their energy, Italy lacked composure with ball in hand and were punished for failing to capitalise on their early pressure in spectacular fashion by Hogg.

    Hogg picked the ball up in his own half and weaved his way past Jake Polledri and Jayden Hayward before surging down the right to dive over in the corner.

    Ali Price saw a try chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up before Tommaso Allan struck the post from the tee for the hosts.

    Harris crashed over from close range to double Scotland's advantage six minutes into the second half, but Hastings again failed to add the extras.

    Marco Riccioni was taken off on a cart in a blow to an Italy side that continued to spurn attacking openings and when Federico Zani was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle their hopes were effectively ended.

    Hastings then scooted down the blind side to add last-minute gloss to the scoreline, with Italy nilled for the second time in three matches.

     

    Hogg leads by example

    Scotland were second best in the opening 20 minutes, but skipper Hogg lifted their spirits and turned the tide with a fine individual effort that marked a moment of quality in a game otherwise short on it.

    Italy lack killer instinct

    Italy crafted a plethora of promising openings with a series of line breaks, but their inability to finish those attacks off was the decisive factor in a tight affair.

  • Brumbies end Chiefs' winning start, Reds up and running in style Brumbies end Chiefs' winning start, Reds up and running in style

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    The Canberra outfit had been edged out by the Highlanders last week but bounced back to beat the Chiefs 26-14 at FMG Stadium Waikato.

    It was a first win in New Zealand since 2014 for the Brumbies after a blistering opening 40 minutes despite a mumps outbreak in the lead up to the game.

    Thomas Banks, Solomone Kata and Pete Samu all crossed before the break for the visitors without reply.

    And Samu's second try two minutes after the restart, along with Noah Lolesio's third successful conversion, made it 26-0.

    Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown went through to restore Chiefs hopes, but their run of three straight wins to start the season was ended.

    The Reds are now second to the Brumbies in their conference, six points back, after getting their first victory in dominant fashion.

    Tate McDermott scored twice in a stunning 10-try 64-5 success against the Sunwolves, leapfrogging their opponents.

    Like the Brumbies, the Sharks bounced back from a first loss of the season in Saturday's early game, beating the Rebels 36-24 in Melbourne.

    Makazole Mapimpi contributed a pair of tries, while Curwin Bosch had 16 points in all, including a 72nd-minute score.

  • Betsen waxes lyrical over 'unbelievable' Edwards ahead of Cardiff return Betsen waxes lyrical over 'unbelievable' Edwards ahead of Cardiff return

    Serge Betsen feels the "unbelievable" Shaun Edwards has already made a big impact since he was appointed France defence coach and declared "this is just the beginning".

    Edwards was lured across the English Channel to join a new-look Les Bleus coaching set-up under Fabien Galthie after 12 years as Wales defensive guru.

    It was clear that the hugely respected, no-nonsense 53-year-old has already stamped his authority early in his new role with the manner in which France defended for their lives in a victory over England in their Six Nations opener.

    Edwards returns to Cardiff on Saturday for France's showdown with his former employers at the Principality Stadium on what promises to be a pivotal weekend in the battle for the title.

    Betsen has first-hand experience of Edwards' coaching skills from his time at Wasps and the former France flanker has paid tribute to the Englishman.

    He told Omnisport: "Shaun Edwards used to be my coach at Wasps. He coached me for three years, he's an unbelievable coach, very passionate and very effective with what he does.

    "He's one of the best defensive coaches in the world and everybody who he coaches, you can see the impact he has made. I'm looking forward to seeing how he is going to empower the French players for this game because it's really fine margins and those margins are so important.

    "I don't feel he'll be looking to use his past experience with Wales as an advantage so much, but what he is really good at [is] empowering people and he'll make sure the players know how to be the best they can be."

    Betsen revealed Edwards asked to pick his brains before embarking on his new challenge.

    "I really appreciated the fact that Shaun asked to meet with me before he went to France, to try to understand the French mentality, et cetera," he added.

    "As a Frenchman and someone who understands his coaching philosophy, I think he made a very good decision to try to understand the people he would be working with and the culture, to ensure he can adapt himself and make a difference.

    "We saw the impact he has made in the game against England, not so much against Italy. He brings to the team with instilling discipline, effectiveness, attention to detail and this is just the beginning.

    "What people remember from Shaun Edwards is the blitz defence and I want to see the French team being able to apply that at some point."

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