Quade helps Rebels to a late trial win over Reds

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

Quade Cooper has shrugged off a minor knee injury to help steer the Melbourne Rebels to a thrilling win over his former Super Rugby side Queensland in their pre-season trial in Ballarat.

Cooper's Rebels looked headed for a tight loss until reserve five-eighth Stu Dunbar scored with the final play of the game on Friday to clinch a 29-26 win.

Unwanted by Reds coach Brad Thorn during the 2018 season, Cooper shifted south in the hope of reigniting his international career.

After missing last week's trial against the Brumbies with the knee injury he played the first 35 minutes, lining up at No.10 against Reds prodigy Hamish Stewart with the pair splitting the points.

Cooper was busy in attack, particularly with his boot as he looked to chip kick over the willing Queensland defence with varying levels of success.

He also fumbled a kick over the sideline right in front of the Queensland bench, who were happy to wind up their former teammate who played 118 times for the Reds.

The Rebels celebrate a trial win over the Reds. Photo: Melbourne RebelsCooper said it felt good to have his first hit-out with his new team.

"It felt great, it was a great opportunity to put the jumper on and play some football," Cooper said.

"For me it was just about getting out there and getting to know my teammates and trying to put some of the things we've been working on in training into practice."

Lock Luke Jones, who returned to the Rebels after two years in France, was one of his team's best, while winger Tautalatasi Tasi, who is playing for a Super Rugby contract was also a stand-out.

With the Rebels using almost all of the 35-strong squad, the Reds worked their way back into the game and looked set for a win in their first trial.

They had a five metre scrum in the final few seconds, but the Rebels forced a tight head and sent the ball wide with Dunbar diving over.

For the Reds, Wallaby lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who was formerly known as Lukhan Tui, made a solid comeback after an emotional Test against Argentina on the Gold Coast ended with him in a sideline scuffle with a fan and him temporarily walking away from rugby.

"It's awesome to be back - it's been a long time since I've played so it was good to get out there with the boys," he said.

RESULT

Rebels 29

Reds 26