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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Replacement prop Ollie Norris scored a try in the final minute to give the Chiefs a 33-30 win over the Melbourne Rebels on Sunday and complete a clean sweep of New Zealand teams over Australia rivals in round 13 of Super Rugby Pacific.
The Chiefs had to come from behind in both halves against a dogged Rebels team to complete the fifth New Zealand win in as many matches.
The Rebels led 30-26 coming into the final minute and seemed to have achieved a vital turnover when they disrupted the Chiefs’ attacking lineout which followed a late penalty. But the Chiefs were able to regain possession, hold it through several phases and Norris suddenly found himself in a gap near the line and drove over for the winning try.
“It wasn’t all me,” Norris said. “I think both teams made mistakes and the other side capitalized on them.
“The Rebels really turned up and we didn’t have our best game so in the changing room we won’t be so happy with the win.”
The result still was influential on the competition ladder. It kept the Chiefs inside the top four and the Dunedin-based Highlanders inside the top eight, setting back the Rebels in their challenge for a top eight place.
The Chiefs had to weather heavy pressure in both halves, especially in the first 20 minutes when they rarely touched the ball. The Rebels managed only a penalty goal from that share of possession and the Chiefs scored the first try through backrower Luke Jacobson in the 25th minute.
A second try to winger Chase Tiatia gave the Chiefs a 12-3 lead but the Rebels closed the gap with an intercept try to Carter Gordon to trail 12-10 at halftime.
Winger Andrew Kellaway pounced on a loose pass to kick through and score in the 46th minute, putting the Rebels ahead 17-12.
The Chiefs rallied again to lead 26-17 with tries to hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and winger Emoni Narawa.
Reece Hodge’s 66th minute try narrowed the margin and he put the Rebels ahead with penalties 71st and 77th minutes before Norris’s late try decided the match.
“We knew coming here the Rebels were a better side than they’ve shown on the points table,” Chiefs captain Sam Cane said. “They showed that for the full 80 minutes.
“We just couldn’t seem to score twice in a row and get any momentum going.”
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