Despite turning in his best game of the Super Rugby season, Melbourne Rebels centre Reece Hodge said it counted for little with his team overrun for the second straight week.
The Wallabies back was filthy the Rebels blew a 19-point halftime lead to allow the NSW Waratahs to score in the 80th minute and snatch a 32-25 victory at AAMI Park.
With a similar outcome the week before against the Chiefs, the result means the Rebels are still anchoring the ladder, winless after five rounds.
Hodge scored two first-half tries and back on target with his long-range kicking for a combined tally of 20 points.
But he couldn’t take much joy given the heart-breaking result.
“It was nice to get involved and get my hands on the ball a bit more and not let the team down with my kicks but you can’t really take too many positives out of a loss like that – I’m pretty gutted and so are the rest of the boys,” Hodge said.
“It’s pretty disappointing to be up by 19 at halftime and then not score a point in the second half.”
The Rebels will be scratching around for some locks for their clash with the Highlanders next Friday night in Dunedin after Culum Retallick and Dom Day both suffered concussion.
Test hooker James Hanson’s game also ended late in the first half after a head knock while Wallabies back Sefa Naivalu dislocated his shoulder just before fulltime.
Hodge said the Rebels wouldn’t use injuries as an excuse for their second half, where they failed to cherish possession and build any pressure on their opponents.
“Obviously it wasn’t ideal but you can’t blame our loss on that,” the 22-year-old said.
“The Tahs probably attacked a bit better in the second half and we were a bit lazy with our defence and you can’t afford that.”