Brumbies battle for win over the Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies battle for win over the Rebels

Brumbies battle for win over the Rebels

The Brumbies rolled in to Melbourne after knocking over the Reds on the strength of an impressive defensive display. The Rebels were full of confidence after beating the Force and getting their season off to a strong start.

The big question: would strong defence overcome a team with two flashy Wallabies in the backline?

The Match

The Brumbies have secured their second win of the season with a four-try win victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.

The result for the home team comes at a cost with injury concerns hanging over two of their star players, James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale.

The Rebels showed their hand early, running the ball against the Brumbies’ defence that did so well last week. They looked the better team in the opening exchanges. They declined shots at goal from early penalties but their lineout was letting them down. An opportunist’s try to Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg got the visitors on the board early.

Mogg - his wrist is OK

Mogg: his wrist is OK

The Rebels then scored via a streamlined James O’Connor and that was followed up by a brilliant piece of work from O’Connor, getting a pass away to Scott Higginbotham who ran away and scored under the posts.

The Rebels enjoyed the better of the play as the Brumbies’ discipline, particularly from the forwards, started to let them down and put them under more pressure. They blew two chances to add to their score with an error from a lineout and then a maul infringement when David Pocock came unbound at the back inside the Rebels’ 22.

Clyde Rathbone then completed his fairytale return to provincial rugby, finishing a neat backline move to cross on the left side. They try was awarded courtesy of the TMO.

With time almost up in the half, the Brumbies had a great chance to score again but poor handling let the half time score at 13-12 to the home side.

Whatever Jake White said at halftime worked wonders as the forwards lifted their intensity and lowered the error rate.

The Rebels suffered badly with James O’Connor leaving the field with injury. That loss was followed by a procession of experienced players, including Kurtley Beale and Gareth Delve, as it started to go downhill for the home team.

My hair, my beautiful hair...

‘My hair, my beautiful hair…’

The momentum started to go in the Brumbies’ favour. They scored off a speculator to Ben Mowen after he swooped on a ball and ran 40 metres to the tryline.

The Rebels did well to keep out the Brumbies again after Mowen knocked on at the back of a scrum after Jarrod Saffy entered the sin bin for a cynical infringement right in front of the sticks. The Rebels didn’t look close to scoring after their injury problems and the Brumbies would be satisfied with keeping the opposition scoreless in the second half.

And with time ticking down, the Brumbies secured their fourth try and a bonus point. They come away with a 30-13 win and will have next week off, while the Rebels will need to regroup before taking on the Waratahs.

The Game Changer

Early in the second half James O’Connor copped a head knock tackling a rampaging Clyde Rathbone. He went off for the medical check and didn’t return. At the same time Kurtley Beale was struggling with injury.

Also, the benching of Gareth Delve raised eyebrows considering the mounting injury toll and lack of leadership.


Jesse Mogg – scored a great try with pace and almost bagged another.

Wallaby watch

James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale play the double playmaker role perfectly and kept their team in the match for a while with some incisive runs, particularly out wide in trying to get around the Brumbies’ defence.

Brumbies forwards Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and David Pocock got through plenty of work and led the Brumbies well.

The Details

Brumbies 30 – Mogg, Rathbone, Mowen, Coleman tries; Lealiifano 2 con, 2 pen def
Rebels 13 – Higginbotham try; O’Connor con, 2 pen

68 min Jarrod Saffy yellow card

  • Pedro

    I would give mowen my MoM. Solid in defense and attack plus beat a few backs to easily to score a fortuitous run away try.

    Hope Beale is ok, o’connor looked pissed off but it’s good for the game if the concussion rules aren’t just an excuse for a breather.

    Must admit the game looked a step below the kiwi’s, although 4 tries and an away win is as much as the brumbies would have hoped for.

    • Robson

      The impression I am left with in comparing the two matches is that scarely little ball was put to the boot in Dunedin whereas, irritatingly, it seemed to be the preferred option in Melbourne when retrieving from depth.

    • Larkhage

      I agree with Mowen being the MoM, I saw that the stadium gave it to Beale.

    • Dave

      I’d say the same about Mowen , although Mogg did have a good game, Mowen was everywhere. Providing support, leadership and scoring to boot.

      Also agree on the standard of game as compared to the kiwis. Even when our kiwi brethren look rusty it’s entertaining. When we’re rusty it just looks clumsy.

      The saffa game wasn’t much better. A kick fest with typically strong defence and not a lot offered in attack from either team. Hard to watch at 3 in the morning.

    • agreed. i was critical of Mowen last week foolishly thinking he wasn’t doing enough but by god i was converted after this game. Immense work rate and what toe he showed in getting that late try! JW has them so incredibly fit i expect they will only get better and better

  • Patrick

    I thought Lealifano looked really good despite the botched try, and Stephen Moore might have been my MoM, did he get to 20 carries for the match? He seemed to hit it up every second play for a while there. OTOH they seemed to get played on the two scrum penalties so maybe not?

    Inman was I think really shown up and the Rebels just can’t keep him at 13.

    Mogg’s run was a blinder and O’Connor’s work to set up Higgers was sensational.

    I desperately hope that O’Connor and Beale are good to go we definitely won’t cut it without them for the moment.

    • Pedro

      I kept seeing Inman put on big hits so he wasn’t all bad.

      • Patrick

        He took the ball into contact, and lost it there, a few times too many, and he was stepped twice including I’m pretty sure by Ben Mowen. And in the play that led to Rathbone’s try he didn’t run back into his defensive line nearly fast enough and so wasn’t there – another player might have made a big difference!

        Obviously tough ask to fill Mortlock’s shoes (didn’t see him get stepped often!) but I think the Rebels need someone else there.

        • Pedro

          Lachlan Mitchell?

  • USARugger

    JOC is quickly becoming and injury lottery and I don’t like it at all.

    Brumbies are starting to look like they may be the real deal this year!

    • Robson

      I thought they were the real deal last year, but decided to have their one “bad” game when it counted most.

    • Dave

      Give him a break – he had Rathbone running into him at full speed. That hardly falls under the definition of injury prone.

      • Johnny-boy

        It was JOC stupidly putting his head in the wrong place and not Rathbone running over him

  • Robson

    The Rebs looked good to start with, but inattention to detail at the breakdown took the sting out of some promising moves. A few defensive errors didn’t help them either and they also lost their attacking bite when O’Connor left the park and Beale was crocked. Sustained work on the basics had the Brums pulling past them for a four point win. In Dunedin the match was played at a breathtaking pace with high levels of accuracy on disply from both sides. Sopoaga, however, squandered three of the Highlanders attacking chances by being a greedy pup and clinging to the pill like a comforter instead of letting it go.

  • Nutta

    MOM Ben Mowen. Bloody hell I think I may have a man-crush and he’s not even in front row. Mind you Squeaky had a great game too. And at the risk of being a true limp-wristed fairy, watching Rattles score his try brought a tear to my eye.

    • JimmyC

      How good was it when Rathers pumped onto that short ball

  • big o

    That chiefs highlanders game was a cracker. Made our games look 2nd div.

    • Thanks Tui, perhaps you want to reveal what country you’re really from?

    • Johnny-boy

      Crap – it was ping pong rugby – just like their fairy floss ITM comp

  • I’m not sure that Mogg should be MoM, but he should be in the Wallabies squad. I’m glad the Brumbies got their goal kicking somewhat in order (vast improvement from the Reds game).

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