Match Centre: Super Rugby Pacific: Moana Pasifika 23-29 Melbourne Rebels

Julian Savea's try went in vain for Moana PasifikaJulian Savea became the all-time leading try-scoring in Super Rugby with his 61st touchdown
Julian Savea became the all-time leading try-scoring in Super Rugby with his 61st touchdown

Moana Pasifika 23-29 Melbourne Rebels, FMG Stadium Waikato

Melbourne Rebels have registered their second successive victory in the ongoing Super Rugby Pacific season as they edged out Moana Pasifika 29-23 in the third round at FMG Stadium Waikato on Friday.

Pasifika had their chances heading into the final quarter but they were playing with a player less with Allan Craig and Jacob Norris sin-binned in the 63rd and 74th minutes respectively.

The victory has taken Rebels to the top of the table with 10 points while Moana Pasifika are at ninth position with five points.

Rebels started the game in a brisk fashion as Andrew Kellaway, who shifted from fullback to wing showed great pace to touchdown in the 5th minute and shortly Ryan Louwrens showed great skills to dot down in the 9th minute. Carter Gordon kicked the conversion on the second occasion to make it 0-12.

William Havili opened Moana Pasifika's account with a penalty goal in the 17th minute but the Rebels soon got their third try around the half-hour mark with a try from Vaiolini Ekuasi making it 3-19.

Moana Pasifika hit back with a try to Craig to cut the lead to 10-19 at halftime before Julian Savea became the all-time leading try-scoring in Super Rugby with his 61st touchdown early in the second half. Havili kicked both the conversions and followed with a penalty goal in the 60th minute to make it 20-19.

However, Moana's momentum was dented with Craig sin-binned in the 63rd minute and Rebels made use of the numerical advantage with Lachie Anderson scoring to claim the bonus point. Any chance of a comeback from Moana Pasifika was put off as Norris was also yellow carded with five minutes left and Lukas Ripley with their fifth try completed a thrilling win for the Australian side.

Team line up:

Moana Pasifika XV: Abraham Pole, Sama Malolo, Sione Mafileo, Tom Savage, Allan Craig, Jacob Norris, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Lotu Inisi, Ereatara Enari, William Havili, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Julian Savea, Henry Taefu, Pepesana Patafilo, Danny Toala

Reserves: Tomasi Maki, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Irie Papuni, Melani Matavao, Christian Lealiifano, Kyren Taumoefolau

Melbourne Rebels: Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai, Josh Canham, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Josh Kemeny, Vaiolini Ekuasi, Rob Leota (c), Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Andrew Kellaway, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Lachie Anderson, Jake Strachan

Reserves: Ethan Dobbins, Isaac Kailea, Taniela Tupou, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Daniel Maiava, James Tuttle, Glen Vaihu, Lukas Ripley