Amanaki Mafi in action for the Rebels against the Jaguares.
Amanaki Mafi in action for the Rebels against the Jaguares.

Rebels blow lead in loss to Jaguares

MELBOURNE'S second-half woes have continued to plague their Super Rugby season with the Jaguares surging to a 25-22 win in their AAMI Park clash.

The Rebels had a chance after Saturday afternoon's full-time siren to kick a penalty goal from in front for a certain draw, but elected to take a scrum to go for the win.

Their bold move failed to pay off, with Melbourne losing control of the ball and the Jaguares kicking it into touch.

For the third game this season, the Rebels built a strong lead - this time 19-6 - only to allow their opponents back into the match.

Melbourne did the same against the NSW Waratahs in round five and the Hurricanes in their last outing, prompting questions about their genuine title credentials.

It looked like superstar Melbourne halfback Will Genia had done enough to orchestrate an important win, with two breaks setting up a try in each half.

But Genia was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury straight after the second, scored by fullback Dane Haylett-Petty in the 49th minute, with momentum shifting against the home side.

Sebastian Canelliere crossed and the Jaguares took advantage of the Rebels losing prop Tetera Faulkner to a yellow card, with winger Ramiro Moyano bouncing off the Melbourne defence to cross.

Adding in an earlier penalty strike by Argentine five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez, the lead was closed to just one point.

Jaguares players celebrate their win.
Jaguares players celebrate their win.

While Melbourne's No.10 Jack Debreczeni slotted a long-range goal to extend that to four, the Jaguares continued to pile on the pressure.

The Rebels eventually cracked in the 73rd minute, with their defence caught short and Test playmaker Sanchez finding Olympic sevens player Bautista Ezcurra.

With Sanchez adding the extras, that gave the visitors the three-point lead and, despite Melbourne's best efforts, the Argentines' defence stood firm.

JAGUARES 25 (Sebastian Cancelliere, Bautista Ezcurra, Ramiro Moyano tries Nicolas Sanchez 2 cons 2 pens) REBELS 22 (Dane Haylett-Petty, Marika Koroibete, Bill Meakes tries Jack Debreczeni 2 cons pen) at AAMI Park. Referee: Nic Berry