You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Rebels hit Super low in big loss to Kings

NZN 29/04/2017 Melissa Woods

Melbourne's case to avoid the Super Rugby axe hit a King-size hurdle in Port Elizabeth with the Rebels turning in their worst performance of the season with an insipid 44-3 loss.

The Rebels and the Kings have their necks on the Super Rugby chopping block with the competition set to downsize next year but only the South Africans appeared to be playing for their lives.

The Kings, who sit bottom of their conference yet also claimed the Waratahs' scalp last week in a further sign of the weakness of Australian rugby, posted six unanswered tries with five coming in the second half.

Melbourne lost halfback captain Nic Stirzaker on the match eve to an ankle injury and then with only two No.9s in the touring party, suffered a cruel blow with his replacement Mick Snowden going down with foot problem midway through the first half.

Flanker Colby Fainga'a and then five-eighth Ben Volavola both shared the duties through the match but the Rebels attack lost structure and cohesion.

Primed for a first win in South Africa after a draw with the Sharks last week, Melbourne coach Tony McGahan said his team struggled to recover from the key injuries.

"Losing Nic and then Mick really hurt us," McGahan said.

"I think we looked OK there for 15 minutes in attack and then we toiled hard but we just weren't able to control the ball."

Through errors Melbourne were unable to build any attacking pressure although they had plenty of chances, particularly in the first half when they dominated 58 per cent of possession and 57 per cent of territory.

They were unable to capitalise and trailed 11-3 at the break before the second half onslaught.

"Three turnover tries, a lost line-out from us try and although we dominated possession they defended really well and their spirit grew as the game went on and it was really well played from them," McGahan said.

Former Melbourne Storm winger Marika Koroibete toiled hard but, with his old side flying at the top of the NRL ladder, he must be questioning his decision to switch codes.

Kings winger Makazole Mapimpi, who scored in the 70th minute, was a stand-out as was flanker Andisa Ntsila with the result the first time the team have posted back to back victories.

Fainga'a, who took over the captaincy in the absence of Stirzaker, was gutted by the performance.

"A bit of adversity came our way and we weren't good enough to adjust out there," Fainga'a said.

"It was an extremely disappointing result for us.

"We'll have a good review and a lot of hard truths are going to come out of that game."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon