Super Rugby: Rebels ease past Cheetahs in Melbourne
The Rebels got their Super Rugby season under way with an impressive 35-14 victory over the Cheetahs in Melbourne.
Last Updated: 28/02/14 2:21pm
Lachlan Mitchell, Jason Woodward, Luke Burgess, Bryce Hegarty and Scott Higginbotham all ran in tries in a bonus-point victory.
The Rebels received a bye in both of the first two weeks of the season but showed no signs of rust, signalling their intent from the start by running the ball from deep inside their half.
Their adventurous style was rewarded as early as the fifth minute when Mitchell finished off a brilliant team try in the right corner.
The Rebels doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when skipper Higginbottom showed great sleight of foot to deliver a perfectly-weighted cross-kick which Woodward gathered and grounded over the line.
A third try came shortly before the half-time break as Burgess, returning to Super Rugby after a spell with Toulouse, broke around the fringe of a ruck to score. Hegarty added his first conversion at the third time of asking.
The visitors were a little livelier after the break, sparking hopes of a comeback when Jean Cook scored from the back of a driving maul after a line-out 15 metres from the Rebels' try-line.
The Rebels suffered a setback when Scott Fuglistaller was sent to the sin bin for striking Cook, but they managed to increase their lead despite the numerical disadvantage.
Hegarty scored the bonus-point try under the posts after collecting a pass from Tamati Ellison, who had burst through the defence to set up the score.
After Hegarty added the extras the Cheetahs continued in their bid to salvage something from the game, scoring a converted try of their own when Ryno Barnes touched down after a driving maul.
But the Rebels hit back with a drop goal by Angus Roberts from just outside the visitors' 22-metre line in the 77th minute.
Roberts added a penalty shortly before full-time and Higginbotham put the icing on the cake when he scored the Rebels' fifth try in added time.