THERE were times when it was anything but pretty.
And coach Dave Wessels probably has claims to be filthy his side didn’t win by far more.
Yet the final analysis from last night’s Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park reads Rebels 46, Sharks 14.
How quickly we have come to expect more from the Melbourne side after a paltry one-win season last year.
Wessels’ men reclaimed their spot at the top of the competition ladder with a fourth bonus point win in their first five games, bouncing back from last week’s second half collapse against NSW despite having just a five-day turnaround between matches.
Anaru Rangi, Amanaki Mafi, Billy Meakes, Ross Haylett-Petty and Fereti Sa’aga all scored tries for the hosts, with the physical and at times spiteful encounter bursting to life in the final 25 minutes, before which the Rebels had led just 18-7.
Casting Sunday’s loss to the Waratahs aside, the Rebels’ ability to blow teams away in the second half has been a feature of their season thus far.
Last night Melbourne scored three tries between the 56th and 68th minute to ice the contest.
In the weeks prior they had scored three between the 64th and 71st minutes against the Brumbies, three between the 44th and 52nd minutes against the Sunwolves and three between the 42nd and 55th minutes against the Reds.
In what was their first game against a South African opponent this season, the Rebels passed the forwards test with a huge tick, its set piece particularly impressive given that its first two tries came directly from lineout drives.
REBELS 46 (Will Genia, Ross Haylett-Petty, Amanaki Mafi, Bill Meakes, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga tries Jack Debreczeni 4, Reece Hodge cons Debreczeni, Hodge pens) SHARKS 14 (Marius Louw, Lwazi Mvovo tries Curwin Bosch, Robert du Preez cons) at AAMI Park. Referee: Shuhei Kubo. Crowd: 8,393.