Southern Districts’ Shute Shield finals hopes are hanging by a thread after the Rebels suffered a 34-27 loss at the hands of West Harbour on Saturday.
The seven-point defeat on the club’s Back to Souths Day at Forshaw Rugby Park leaves the Rebels in eighth place, four points outside the top six with five rounds remaining.
The Rebels missed a golden chance to push themselves to within touching distance of a finals place after sixth-placed Eastern Suburbs were beaten by leaders Sydney University.
West Harbour scored the opening try before the sides traded penalty goals to see the Pirates out to a 10-3 lead.
The visitors added another penalty goal before Souths fullback Christian Kagiassis dived over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 13-8.
Souths No.8 Marcus Carbone then crashed over for the Rebels, with Kagiassis’ conversion putting the Rebels 15-13 in front.
But the Pirates scored a converted try on the stroke of half-time to take a 20-15 lead to the break.
Souths prop Matt Gibbon crashed over to level the scores at 20-all before West Harbour made the most of a numerical advantage.
Rebels prop Shambeckler Vui was shown a yellow card, with the Pirates benefiting with a converted try to lead 27-20.
An intercept try then had West Harbour out to a 34-20 lead before Souths forward Angus Ryan scored a late consolation try just before full-time.
Souths now face what is essentially a do or die clash with Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval on Saturday.
In the lower grades, Souths went down to West Harbour 34-12 in second grade, won third grade 23-19 but lost fourth grade 20-18.
It was a happier weekend for the club’s colts teams, with the Rebels thrashing West Harbour 81-0 in Colts 1, 69-7 in Colts 2 and 28-0 in Colts 3.
In other round 13 results, Sydney Uni beat Easts 36-29, Eastwood downed Parramatta 53-36, Northern Suburbs defeated Gordon 46-25 while Manly and Warringah played out a 20-all draw.
Randwick were also awarded a 28-0 victory over Penrith after the Emus were removed from the competition earlier in the season.
See more photos online at theleader.com.au.
Meanwhile, Souths star Jed Holloway helped the NSW Waratahs to a record-breaking 77-25 win over the Sunwolves at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
Holloway played the full 80 minutes as the Waratahs booked a spot in the Super Rugby finals and put themselves within one win of a home semi-final after thrashing the Japanese franchise 12 tries to three.