The Melbourne Rebels have fought hard for a 27-21 win over the NSW Waratahs in Sydney

It was a scrappy game as the visitors took a 10-7 lead into the break.

The Waratahs eventually got over the line through Langi Gleeson, only for the Rebels' scrum to prove the difference and allow them to control the game.

They scored three tries in the final 14 minutes to seal the win and their spot in the top eight.

The Waratahs were struck down late with injuries when Angus Bell (back), Charlie Gamble (calf) and Ned Hanigan (hamstring) were ruled out before the game, joined by Rebels and Wallabies flanker Josh Kemeny.

The late injury chaos epitomised the first half as both teams were well below their best.

The Rebels were forced into an early change when Jake Strachan came from the field with a shoulder injury, with new debutant Darby Lancaster looking dangerous on the flank.

It took until the 22nd minute for the opening points when Ryan Louwrens caught the Waratahs napping with a quick tap. He looked as surprised as anyone when his grubber landed in his hands after an accidental kick-up by Jake Gordon, finding Lachie Anderson for the try.

Not to be outdone, tighthead Tom Ross pulled off his best Sonny Bill Williams impersonation with the perfect flick to Lachie Swinton, sprinting past the fullback for the instant response.

The Waratahs almost scored off the kickoff when Dylan Pietsch was put into space, chopped down by Carter Gordon five metres out as he went himself, rather than use the two players inside of him.

The Rebels’ injury woes continued when Anderson was taken high by Hugh Sinclair, ending up with the flanker yellow carded, Anderson taken off and Louwrens moving to the win on account of the 6/2 bench split.

Gordon’s boot gave the Rebels the 10-7 lead before the break.

Both teams turned down shots at goal as neither side could break the line before the final quarter of the game sparked into life when Langi Gleeson squeezed over to put the Waratahs in front.

The Rebels kept applying their pressure via their dominant scrum as Cabous Eloff and Taniela Tupou made a real impact.

It allowed them to get a lineout seven metres out, with replacement hooker Alex Mafi putting Lancaster over the line in the corner.

Five minutes later, Tupou dived over in the same spot to give the Rebels an eight-point lead.

The injection of Will Harrison, 707 days since his last appearance, gave the Waratahs hope when he set up Jack Grant with four minutes remaining.

However, it wasn't meant to be for the Waratahs as the Rebels trapped them in their in-goal as they threw the ball around, allowing Filipo Daugunu to ice the game with a 79th minute try.

Rebels 29 (TRIES: Lancaster, Tupou, Daugunu, Anderson: CONS: Gordon 3; PENS: Gordon) def Waratahs 21 (TRIES: Swinton, Grant, Gleeson; CONS: Edmed 2, Harrison)


WARATAHS (1-15): Jack Barrett, Mahe Vailanu, Tom Ross, Jed Holloway, Fergus Lee-Warner Lachlan Swinton, Hugh Sinclair, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Joey Walton, Izaia Perese, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Julian Heaven, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Miles Amatosero, Sione Misiloi, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, Lalakai Foketi

REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai, Angelo Smith, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Maciu Nabolakasi, Rob Leota (c), Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Darby Lancaster, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Lachie Anderson, Jake Strachan

RESERVES: Alex Mafi, Cabous Eloff, Taniela Tupou, Josh Canham, Daniel Maiava, Vaiolini Ekuasi, James Tuttle, Nick Jooste