Morgan Turinui revealed that the controversial decision by the Melbourne Rebels to end Sunday’s clash with the Highlanders came from the club’s staff, not the players.
The Rebels won the match 31-30 at AAMI Park but the bonus points gained by the Highlanders losing seven points or less were enough to defeat Western Force to secure eighth and final place in the Super Rugby Pacific Quarter Final.
The home side had the opportunity to play and score a converted goal that erased the Highlanders’ bonus points and led the Force to the final.
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But instead of kicking for a lineout after winning a late penalty, the Rebels decided to kick it out by tapping it to end the game and Force season.
“I was on the sidelines watching everything unfold and the whole team on the field wanted to get in line,” said Turinui, the rebels’ former assistant coach at Stan Sports. Rugby heaven.
“They were set up on the line, they went for the call and were shouted at by the staff members on the sidelines, some of them who were in the Western Force before, to tap it and kick it off to finish the game. Which I found really interesting.
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“The mentality of the players was ‘we’re just going to go.’ Now regardless of the context of the Western forces or why they feel there is more rugby in them, I find it interesting. “
And the additional context is the force clapping from Super Rugby in 2017 when Rugby Australia chose them for the ax instead of the rebels.
“The point was made to me after the game, (Rebel coach) Kevin Foot, it’s just a performance-oriented job, and he said at the end of the season, ‘Yes, I’ve beaten the Highlanders, I’ve beaten a New Zealand team.’ Rugby heaven Organizer Nick McArdol said.
“She’s got it in her CV now, maybe it’ll count.”
Georgina Robinson of the Sydney Morning Herald says it is wrong to criticize the rebels.
“It must have been the end of a beautiful story book, wrapped in a big, red, velvet bow, in the throes of that civil war between the forces and the rebels,” Robinson said.
“But it’s not real life and rebellious, you have to imagine it from their point of view. I don’t think they’ve finished a season of wins so it was pretty special.
“And they wanted to – I know they wanted captain Michael Wells, they wanted Matt Toomua, but should they have risked another 90 seconds of insanity, which they had to pay for winning the Blues two weeks ago?”
All Blacks Great Andrew Mehertens agrees and says the forces situation should not enter the equation.
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“No, not at all. Your only responsibility is yours,” Mehertens said.
“They never went to the playoffs, this is the last game of their season, that’s it. You want to take the winning note. A few years ago, the Highlanders in South Africa made three attempts in the last four.
“All they have to do is pinch a lineout on their own line, go to length, go a few steps – they can do it. So make sure to win perfectly, full stop.”
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