James Mortimer 30.Jun.2012Getty Images
It was a match that enabled the Reds to maintain pace with the Australian Conference leading Brumbies, while there was no fairy-tale for Stirling Mortlock, who played his last match for the newest Investec Super Rugby team at AAMI Park.
Cooper's benching was played down by coach Ewen McKenzie after the match, saying it was precautionary, but considering the Reds first five-eighth is coming back from a full knee reconstruction, a hamstring injury isn't as he makes his highly anticipated comeback.
McKenzie said it was likely that Cooper would play in the Reds next match, against the Highlanders in Brisbane.
O'Connor's injury, which saw him depart with a hamstring strain, comes after he too makes an injury comeback, from a lacerated liver suffered when he collided heavily against Berrick Barnes.
Rebels coach Damien Hill said it was likely to rule the playmaker out of the team's upcoming tour to South Africa.
"I'm not sure of the extent of James' injury but it doesn't look good," Hill said.
"We'll have to wait for the scan but on my layman's observation he won't be touring but we'll wait and see."
Another front line Wallabies magician in Kurtley Beale also looked troubled with injury, having suffered bruised ribs against Wales in the third test, but once again the usual fullback showed his skills at ten - causing the Reds some real issues with his running game.
The only person potentially watching all of this with a smile would have been Waratahs first five-eighth Barnes.
Barnes put aside a mixed campaign with the Waratahs to be one of the Wallabies best performers against Wales, with most pundits picking him and Will Genia as the men of the series.
The Rebels had their chances with an explosive start against the Reds, but it was the champions execution that gave them the edge, scoring three tries in the first half.
Dom Shipperley scored a classic after Mike Harris and Anthony Fainga'a combined well to cut open the Rebels defence, and the visitors went into halftime with a healthy 24-3 lead.
The Rebels threw the kitchen sink at the Reds in the early stages of the second half, and Beale began the fightback with a try six minutes into the final 40.
Lachlan Mitchell made for an interesting final quarter when he scored the Rebels second to make it 27-17, before Genia had the final say with a great pass to set up Nick Frisby to score the matchwinner.