Rebels coach Damien Hill never lost faith that his team would hold on to their lead to start the season on a winning note on Friday.
The Melbourne franchise led 27-16 with 15 minutes remaining in the Super Rugby season opener at AAMI Park before a converted try by Richard Brown reduced the deficit to just four points and set up a tense finish.
The Rebels were not content to defend their lead and their positive approached earned them a penalty, which fullback James O’Connor slotted to guarantee the hosts a share of the spoils at the very least.
Stoic defence, however, saw them claim four log points and their first opening-round win in the franchise’s three-year history.
Hill wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance in the first half but felt they picked it up in the second stanza and was never worried about surrendering the lead.
"In the first 20 minutes, we chose not to treasure possession and gave away opportunities," Hill said.
"Our discipline started to go, and fatigue began to set in.
"In the second half, while we weren't as clinical as we would have liked, it was definitely better and we were able to put points on the board."
Hill was also delighted that certain players were able to complete the full 80 minutes.
"For Laurie Weeks and James O'Connor, that was their first 80 minutes in a long time; for James, in eight months, which is a tremendous effort that shouldn't go unnoticed,” he said.
“Kurtley Beale played 43 weeks of rugby straight last year, but that was his first 80 of the year and he managed to get through really well," he added.
The Rebels host the Brumbies, who beat the Reds 24-6 in Canberra on Saturday, in their second Australian Conference clash in as many weeks at AAMI Park next Friday.
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