Rebels beat Force 32-31 in Perth

Chris Pike, NZ Newswire May 20, 2012, 9:29 pm

Kurtley Beale calmly slotted a 77th minute penalty to hand Melbourne a 32-31 Super Rugby win over Western Force in Perth, as Australia's two battling franchises played out a seven-try thriller.

The teams occupy the bottom two places in the Australian conference but came into the game in varying form with the Rebels off the high of beating the Crusaders last week while the Force returned home after disappointing South African losses to the Cheetahs and Sharks.

The teams combined for seven tries up until the 45-minute mark with Cadeyrn Neville crossing twice for the Rebels and captain Gareth Delve and Cooper Vuna once as the visitors secured the four-try bonus point in the first half.

However, the Force scored two five pointers of their own in the first half through Napolioni Nalaga and Ben McCalman, and when Alfie Mafi came on at half-time he immediately scored after the break to bring the home team to within six.

It took just two and-a-half minutes for the Rebels' opening try and it came to Neville after 14 strong phases.

It was then 14-3 after 20 minutes when Mark Gerrard brilliantly set up Delve's try for Melbourne.

Nalaga did respond for the Force after breaking through two Rebels defenders but the Rebels had the first half answers when a dumbfounding dummy saw Neville again break through the Force defence.

McCalman benefited from a Will Tupou breakthrough to then score a try in the 30th minute, but again the Rebels responded through Vuna before Mafi gave the Force the ideal start to the second half.

It was down to penalties the rest of the way and it was Kurtley Beale who nailed the last one of the game for the Rebels out wide from about 40 metres in the 77th minute to secure his team's second consecutive win.

It takes the Rebels to a 4-7 record to be on the same wins as the Waratahs with a game in hand while the Force slips to just two wins from 12 games in what is turning into a horror campaign for the Perth-based franchise.

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