Melbourne Rebels, Western Force and Rugby Heaven debate controversial appeal


Morgan Turinui has revealed the Melbourne Rebels’ controversial decision to end Sunday’s clash with the Highlanders came from the staff at the club, not the players.

The Rebels won the match 31-30 at AAMI Park, but the bonus point the Highlanders earned by losing by seven points or less was enough for them to beat the Western Force and take the eighth and final quarter-final spot. of the Super Rugby Pacific.

The home side had the opportunity to play and score a converted try that would have erased the Highlanders bonus point and catapulted the Force into the final.

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But instead of kicking the touchdown for a lineout after winning a late penalty, the Rebels decided to tap and send him off to end the game and the Force season.

“I was on the sidelines watching everything unfold and the whole team on the pitch wanted to get on the line,” the former Rebels assistant coach Turinui told Stan Sport. Rugby heaven.

“They were put on the line, they went to roll call and they were shouted at by staff on the sidelines, some of them who were formerly at Western Force, to support him and sending him off and ending the match. Which I found really interesting.

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“The players had the mindset ‘we’re just going to go for it. “Now whether it was the Western Force context or whether they just felt they had more rugby in them, I found that interesting.”

And the added context is the Force’s elimination from Super Rugby in 2017 when Rugby Australia picked them for the ax instead of the Rebels.

“The point was made to me after the game, (Rebels coach) Kevin Foote, it’s performance-based work, and he ends the season and says ‘yes, I beat the Highlanders, j ‘ve beaten a New Zealand team”, Rugby heaven said host Nick McArdle.

“He has that on his CV now, maybe it matters.”

Georgina Robinson of the Sydney Morning Herald said the rebels’ criticism was unfair.

β€œIt sure would have been a nice storybook ending, wrapped up in a big red velvet bow, to that civil war vibe between the Force and the Rebels,” Robinson said.

“But that’s not real life and the Rebels, you have to imagine it from their perspective. I don’t think they ended a season with a win either, so that was pretty special.

“And they wanted it – I know captain Michael Wells wanted it, Matt To’omua wanted it, but should they have risked another 90 seconds of madness which cost them the Blues victory two weeks earlier ?”

All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens agreed and said the Force situation shouldn’t even come into the equation.

Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens reflect on an incredible Super Rugby Pacific final and are joined by seven-man world champion Dom du Toit

“No, absolutely not. Your only responsibility is to yourself,” Mehrtens said.

“They were never going to make the playoffs, it’s their last game of the season, that’s all. You want to go out on a winning note. The Highlanders a few years ago in South Africa scored three tries in the last four minutes.

“They just have to pinch a lineout on their own line, go all the way, a few phases – they can do it. So absolutely make sure you win, period.”

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