Rebels earn bonus point win over Sunwolves

Melissa Woods

Melbourne have moved to within striking distance of Super Rugby Australian conference leaders NSW after rolling the understrength Sunwolves 40-13.

The bonus point victory at AAMI Park meant the Rebels are just one point behind the Waratahs, who take on the Chiefs on Saturday afternoon in Waikato.

With Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham watching on, exciting young winger Jack Maddocks again put his hand up for Test selection for next month's series against Ireland with two tries among their haul of six.

The 21-year-old also pulled off a try-saving tackle early in the second half, racing across the field to bring down a flying Hosea Saumaki.

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete also ran into some timely form, scoring his first hat-trick in Super Rugby after only posting one try previously through the season.

While Maddocks starred among the backs, Japan international Amanaki Mafi led the way in the hard-working Rebels' forwards.

Amanaki Mafi of the Rebels beats a tackle by Hosea Saumaki as Melbourne downed the Sunwolves. Pic: Supplied

The No.8 was at his bullocking best, making almost double the runs of any of other Rebel and also collected a first half try.

The men from Tokyo were fielding an weakened side with a number of stars as well as coach Jamie Joseph remaining in Japan to prepare for their upcoming June internationals.

But they got off to the best possible start with winger Lomano Lemeki scoring in the third minute.

Melbourne responded three minutes later with Koroibete getting his first of the night.

The halftime scoreline was 21-13 with superboot Hayden Parker keeping the Sunwolves in touch through penalties.

Rather than fading in the second half as they've been guilty of this year, the Rebels stepped it up and continued to hammer the Sunwolves line with three tries securing a comfortable win.