Rebels quieten the Force
A low-scorer to forget in Melbourne, the Rebels did enough to overcome the Force and win 22-16 as the two Australian sides faced off.
This one will not live long in the memory. The Force had come into this game in such good form after five straight wins on the trot, but were a blunt force.
It took 60 minutes for the game's first try from Scott Higginbotham, picking on the Force's smallest players as he drove over. Once the Rebels were ahead 19-9, it never looked like the Force would reel them back in.
Up until that 60-minute mark with the Higginbotham try, there really was little of note to comment on.
Sias Ebersohn handed the Force an early 3-0 lead with a penalty after Higginbotham has strayed offside. Destined for a Wallaby recall, the Rebels' skipper does give away an alarming amount of penalties.
Jason Woodward levelled things up with the first of his penalties but the Rebels were pinged around the ruck area again, Colby Faingaa this time the culprit as Ebersohn extended the visitors' lead.
Kieran Longbottom was called out for illegal scrummaging to allow Woodward the chance to tie the scores, and so it remained at 6-6 until half-time.
There was no lack of effort from both teams certainly, but the execution was way off. The Force have played at such a high tempo in previous weeks but there was a feeling that they had run out of steam.
Woodward and Ebersohn traded three-pointers after the break until Longbottom again was pinged at the scrum for Woodward to put his team ahead for the first time.
This was after the Rebels had held out against a lengthy phase of attacking play from their visitors, Marcel Brache at the heart of trying to find a way to the try line but unable to find the necessary gap.
In a tight-knit game Higginbotham's score was paramount. Nursing a ten-point cushion the Rebels looked for a second try to truly kill off the threat of the Force, but couldn't make it happen.
Woodward's fifth penalty put them out of sight at 22-9 and even though Nick Cummins managed to cross at the death for a losing bonus point so the Force at least left with something, they were easily second best.
The Rebels' third win moves them off the bottom of the Australian Conference.
Pens: Woodward 5
Yellow Card: Ellison
Pens: Ebersohn 3
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau,18 Paul Alo-Emilie,19 Hugh Pyle,20 Sean McMahon,21 Luke Burgess,22 Tom Kingston,23 Angus Roberts
Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Phoenix Battye, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Chris Tuatara-Morrison.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Angus Gardner (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)