Rebels edged out by Sharks
S T A R f i v e - e i g h t h Danny Cipriani was both hero and villain as the Rebels fell to a thrilling 34-32 loss to the Sharks in their Super Rugby match in Melbourne last night.
The English import scored a brilliant individual try just after halftime, showing all his skills as he cut a swath through the Sharks defence on his way to touch down.
But with the Sharks ahead 27-25 with only five minutes remaining, Cipriani chased down a ball near the tryline a n d , s w a m p e d b y S h a r k s d e f e n d e r s , batted the ball back infield for Myer Bosman to score the easiest of tries.
The Rebels showed their fighting spirit to hit back again with a try to Jarrod Saffy in the 78th minute but even with Cipriani’s conversion they were short and the only reward for the home side was a bonus point.
And worsening their defeat was the loss of s t a r f u l l b a c k M a r k Gerrard with a dislocated shoulder suffered early in the second half.
The Rebels, who are l o o k i n g t o r e p l i c a t e t h e i r S t o r m r u g b y l e a g ue c o unt e r p a r t s ’ f o r m i d a b l e h o m e ground record in Melbourne, looked on track for another upset win at the ‘‘ Stockade’’.
The Sharks went into the match unbeaten and having not conceded a try in the opening three rounds of the competition. But the Rebels, who pipped the Brumbies at AAMI Park in round two, ignored that reputation. They were in front until the 71st minu t e w h e n d y n a m i c S h a r k s N o . 8 R y a n Kankowski barrelled across the try-line. That levelled scores at 25-25 b e f o r e f i v e - e i g h t h Patrick Lambie converted for a two-point lead.