The Western Force may have fired off with the early advantage via the penalty goal.
But for most of the 1st 40 activity, the Force struggled to defend in the forwards’ pack.
They may have scored a solitary touchdown.
It’s the lack of link-up play where the finishing at times hasn’t gelled together.
The lack of support, especially with the Rebels defense able to mark their errors, gives the men blue’s backline a chance where Tom Pincus and Reece Hodge scored a touchdown each.
It doesn’t mean the Force isn’t in contention just yet thanks to their patience when Andrew Ready sorted the maul done at his pace for another touchdown just before the break.
HALF-TIME: Rebels 20-13 Force
Ready continued the momentum he left off late in the first half and kept the maul straight.
It allowed Ready to focus on finding some space where he read the Rebels weakness of going sideways.
And he touched down beautifully before Ian Prior tied the scoreboard lead 20-20 with 35 mins to go.
The Rebels had a few opportunities to make up lost time, even though they won a few penalties, a lack of support in the finishing & ill-discipline gave the Force a chance to capitalize on their mistakes.
It left the Rebels’ task not to fall behind when the Force remained patient in the build-up play that gains the penalty goal and the Byrnard Stander touchdown on his 50th Super Rugby game.
Dane Haylett-Petty immediately worked his way back when he worked together with Reece Hodge and Marika Koroibete on the far right to exploit the Force danger zone.
FULL-TIME: Rebels 34-30 Western Force
The time has ticked against the Rebels to try and punch their ticket to the Qualifying Final v the Queensland Reds next Saturday.
Even though the Waratahs have this round-off, they can still deny the Rebels their Play-Off berth should the Melbourne-based side lose or win only by less than three points.
In the end, the Rebels just escaped a last-minute threat from the Western Force, who was excellent in the forward pack and challenging to defend thanks to a long-awaited patient passage of play for Cabous Eloff to ground the consolation touchdown.
And Matt Toomua has the last say to convert successfully between the sticks that sent his Rebels team to the finals for the first time.
So heartbreak for the Waratahs, who will join the Western Force as the eliminators in this Super Rugby AU round-robin play.