A masterclass from veteran playmaker Matt To’omua has seen the Melbourne Rebels register their maiden win of Super Rugby AU, accounting for the Waratahs 29-10 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday night.
The 30-year-old, who is in a fight with James O’Connor and Noah Lolesio to wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey, bagged 19 points and was a constant threat for the Rebels against the inexperienced Waratahs.
He started the match with a linebreak, combining with Cameron Orr to put the Rebels in command early and he landed his first of six goals by slotting a penalty from out wide in the fourth minute.
His fifth penalty, to go along with a 39th minute conversion, was enough to see the Rebels record their first win of the season, after a draw and narrow defeat to start the season.
The victory saw the Rebels move ahead of the Waratahs on points differential.
After To’omua gave the Rebels the early lead, winger Alex Newsome gave the Waratahs the lead by intercepting Reece Hodge as the Wallabies utility back attempted to find Marika Koroibete down the short side. Will Harrison’s conversion gave the Waratahs a 7-3 lead after as many minutes.
But another two penalties from To’omua saw the Rebels go ahead 9-7 after 15 minutes.
The Rebels were then pinged for not releasing midway through the first half and Harrison punished the visitors by banging over three points.
But that would prove to be the last piece of joy for the home side, who were their own worst enemies by continually wasting opportunities and showing terrible discipline.
Hooper was shown a yellow card in the 31st minute for being offside and To’omua gladly accepted the opportunity to see the Rebels take a 12-9 lead.
After repeated scrum penalties, Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens picked out his opposite Mitch Short and barged his way over to score and see the Rebels to a 19-10 lead at half-time.
The Waratahs weren’t helped by the loss of Rob Simmons early in the second half because of injury.
To’omua’s fifth penalty of the game in the 71st minute was the first points of the second half.
Wallabies flyer Marika Koroibete crossed in the 77th minute to make the victory more emphatic.
Tries: Louwrens, Koroibete
Cons: Toomua 2
Pens: Toomua 5