The Melbourne Rebels played a heart-stopping Super Round thriller in front of a packed house at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Trailing 24-7 at the half, the Rebels stormed home late, with Richard Hardwick scoring twice within seven minutes to get the hosts within one point with just minutes remaining.
A 77th minute Jordie Barret try ultimately sealed the win for the Hurricanes, but the Rebels second-half pressure, physicality and resilience couldn’t be ignored.
Melbourne opened the contest with Captain Brad Wilkin crashing over after a dominant maul.
Back-to-back tries to Ardie Savea saw the tourists then race to a 17-7 lead, before the All-Blacks flanker exploded off the back of an attacking scrum to find Joshua Moorby.
Savea would then receive a yellow card on the cusp of half-time for his involvement in an all-in brawl, setting the stage for a fiery second half.
The Rebels would be first on the board after the main break, with Lachie Anderson winning the race to a well waited kick from Carter Gordon.
Gordon’s presence continued to grow as the game went on, with the flyhalf snapping up a loose pass, galloping 70 metres to score, before a pair of Hardwick majors gave the Rebels hope.
The Rebels will now turn their focus to next Friday, when they lock horns with Australian rivals, the NSW Waratahs.