The Rebels had to win with four points against the Force to secure a place in the 2020 Super Rugby AU playoffs. They did it with only seconds to go and will play the Reds next weekend to determine who will play in the finals against the Brumbies.
A converted penalty after 8 minutes by Ian Prior saw the Force take the early lead with 3-0. The Force at that stage had the momentum. This penalty "woke" the Rebels who scored the first try of the match after 17 minutes to take the lead with 7-3. The Force hit back after a poor kickoff from the Rebels and retook the lead with 8-7. The match statistics after 20 minutes reflected an even game, however, the Rebels just the better side on the field.
Two penalties in quick succession gave the Rebels the upper hand on the scoreboard with 13-8. The Rebels scored their second try of the match with 12 minutes left on the clock. The momentum at that stage with the Rebels well on their way to a semifinal playoff next weekend. The Force scored a try at the halftime siren to reduce the Rebels lead to 20-13. The Force at the halftime break, again with the momentum in this ding-dong battle.
The Force started the second half as they ended the first when the scored a try within the first 4 minutes of the game. The score level at that stage with 22-22. The Force continued their form in the second half and sneaked in the front after a penalty with 25-22. Minutes later a yellow card to the Rebels and a try by the Force saw the Force stretching their lead to 30-22 which left the Rebels to score 14 points in the last 20 minutes to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Rebels struck back immediately with a try of their 3rd try to reduce the Force's lead 30-27. After spending the most of the last quarter in the Force's red zone the Rebels scored the winning try with seconds to go and secured a playoff spot against the Reds next weekend with 34-30.
Rebels: Tries: Tom Pincus, Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty, Cabous Eloff. Conversions: Matt To'omua (4). Penalties: Matt To'omua (2).
Force: Tries: Henry Taefu, Andrew Ready (2), Brynard Stander. Conversion: Ian Prior (2). Penalties: Ian Prior (2).
Rebels: 1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Michael Wells, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. James Tuttle, 10. Matt To'omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Bill Meakes, 13. Reece Hodge, 14. Tom Pincus, 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c). Replacements: 16. Efitusi Ma'afu, 17. Cabous Eloff, 18. Matt Gibbon, 19. Michael Stolberg, 20. Brad Wilkin, 21. Frank Lomani, 22. Andrew Deegan, 23. Lachie Anderson.
Force: 1. Pek Cowan, 2. Andrew Ready, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Ollie Atkins, 6. Fergus Lee-Warner, 7. Brynard Stander, 8. Henry Stowers, 9. Ian Prior (c), 10. Jono Lance, 11. Marcel Brache, 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Kyle Godwin, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jack McGregor. Replacements: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Dominic Hardman, 19. Johan Bardoul, 20. Kane Koteka, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Nick Jooste, 23. Jake Strachan.