Defiant Rebels shock Brumbies, Barrett inspires Hurricanes win
The beleaguered Melbourne Rebels ended their wait for a first Super Rugby win of the season with a stunning 19-17 derby victory over Brumbies and Beauden Barrett inspired Hurricanes to a thrilling triumph against Blues.
A day after threatening to sue the Australian Rugby Union with the franchise's Super Rugby future in doubt, the Rebels showed incredible on-field defiance to finally get up and running for the season.
Reece Hodge's fourth penalty of the night just two minutes from time settled it at AAMI Park on Saturday, finally giving the Rebels and their fans cause for celebration.
The hosts showed great character throughout, going down to 13 men in the first half after Corey Fainga'a and Lopeti Timani were sin-binned 17 minutes in, but only conceding a Henry Speight try before the duo returned.
Tony McGahan's men were 13-12 in front at the break courtesy of a superb Sef Naivalu solo try and eight points from Hodge, with Jarrad Butler coming up with Brumbies' second five-pointer.
Fereti Sa'aga became the third Rebels player to be shown a yellow card but, although Speight's second try put Brumbies in front for the first time, Hodge nailed another two penalties to consign the Australian Conference leaders to defeat.
Hurricanes have now won four in a row, but they needed a late second try of the game from Mark Abbott to down Blues 28-24 make it a miserable comeback for Sonny Bill Williams at Eden Park.
Lock Abbott charged over down the blindside after the brilliant Barrett's clever chip had caused havoc in the Blues defence five minutes from time and there was no way back for the home side.
Barrett was shown a third yellow card in two games, but pulled the strings in a majestic display that was rewarded when he scooped up a loose ball to race away for one of four Canes tries.
George Smith scored a try in his 150th Super Rugby appearance as Queensland Reds stopped the rot at Suncorp Stadium, ending a six-game losing streak with a seven-try 47-34 defeat of Southern Kings.