AAP Rugby

Rebels’ fail keeps Brumbies and Tahs close

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne's stunning South African capitulation has kept the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs well in the hunt for Australian Super Rugby conference honours.

The previously unbeaten Rebels had the opportunity to crack their maiden win in South Africa and jump clear atop the conference standings, but gave up a 28-point lead to lose to the Lions 36-33 in Johannesburg.

The Rebels managed one bonus point from the five-try effort to maintain a two-point buffer on the Brumbies, with the Waratahs a further point back.

Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty said his team were "hurting" with the result, which they contributed to with a 20-1 penalty count as well as two yellow cards.

"That's the big area we will reflect on as it's tough to beat last year's finalists with 20 penalties against you so that's something we will work on," he said.

Queensland's clash with the Sunwolves was also a game of two halves with the Reds coming out on top in Tokyo.

The Reds overhauled a 21-5 halftime deficit to claim their first win of the season, with fullback Hamish Stewart's last-minute penalty securing the victory.

Putting his hand up for the vacant Wallabies No.2 jersey, Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa grabbed a tryscoring double, as did Brumbies rake Folau Fainga'a in his team's 19-13 upset of the Waratahs in Canberra.

After two successive defeats, it was a confidence-boosting win for the Brumbies.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was left to rue handling errors and poor discipline - including two yellow cards - before a huge clash with the Crusaders at the SCG next Saturday night.

"The area that we're still lacking is our ball control and being able to really exert and hold the ball for long periods," Gibson said.

"We've got to fix up the areas in our game that we need to continue to work on and we've got to go toe to toe with the Crusaders, they're the benchmark team right now."

The Brumbies next week take on the Reds in Brisbane while the Rebels are in Durban against the Sharks.

Friday's terrorist attack in Christchurch cast a long shadow over the two scheduled Kiwi derbies.

That night's match between the Chiefs and Hurricanes went ahead, resulting in a 23-23 draw but players from both teams agreed it was a surreal experience given the horrific events just hours earlier.

Saturday's match between the Highlanders and Crusaders in Dunedin was called off in the wake of the shootings following consultation with the teams and match stakeholders.

Both sides were awarded two points, leaving the Crusaders on top and the only unbeaten team ahead of their trip to Sydney.

The Stormers moved level with the Bulls and Lions atop a tight South African conference following a 35-8 thumping of the Jaguares in Cape Town, the only one-sided match of the round.