The Brumbies have made it two from two to start 2020 after a 39-26 win over the Rebels. The home side scored six tries to four and snapped a four match losing streak against the Rebels to make it ten wins in a row at home, stretching back to 2019 after their loss to the same side in round one.
The Brumbies first half performance looked like it would blow the Rebels away with four first half tries to lead 24-7 at half time before the Rebels made a game of it in the second half with two tries to Angus Cottrell. But it was costly mistakes in the first half that left them with too much work to do in the second half and lament another slow start..
The Rebels put themselves under pressure right off the kick-off with a poor clearance from Matt Toomua and things didn’t get better from there. A mix up at the back lead to a five-metre scrum and just like last week, Irae Simone scored the opening try in just the fifth minute.
The errors continued for the Rebels with a kick from Andrew Kellaway going dead in goal and a scrum penalty leading to the Brumbies second try as Tom Banks received a nice offload from Noah Lolesio and snuck through the line to score to make it 14-0 in as many minutes.
The Rebels stemmed the tide after finally getting their hands on the ball but discipline and poor ball handling gave the Brumbies an easy out of their end.
The Brumbies went further ahead with back-to-back tries in the 25th and 27th minutes with Tom Cusack finishing off a nice move on the right wing for the third try and that was followed by a Pete Samu break as he found Joe Powell and with recycled ball and with the Rebels on the backfoot, Lolesio grubbered ahead for Solomone Kata to collect and score his first try in Brumbies colours.
The Rebels scrum was one area they were getting on top of their opponent and did manage to get on the board just before the break with Angus Cottrell getting the nod from the TMO and Toomua conversion made it 24-7.
They had another good chance to reduce the margin even further with a penalty after the half time bell but another handling error ended that chance.
The visitors came out with much better intent in the second half and with a turnover deep in the Brumbies 22, they kept it tight and Cottrell rumbled over for his second of the match and Lomani’s conversion made it 24-14.
But all their good work in getting back into the game was undone with a series of penalties including one in their own 22 with Ross Haylett-Petty penalised for picking the ball up from the back of a ruck.
The Brumbies went to the sideline for a lineout and ran a variation that sucked the Rebels forwards into the maul and Folau Fainga’a had a rare non rolling maul try for the Brumbies fifth of the night.
The Rebels weren’t deterred and even with a make shift back-line that had Lomani on the right wing and Billy Meakes at ten after both Matt Toomua and Reece Hodge went off. They looked to have hit back with Rangi steaming over off a rolling maul of their own, but TMO Ian Smith picked up an obstruction in the leadup.
But they would only have to wait a minute to score after Dane Haylett-Petty somehow got through three defenders after a quick tap from Billy Meakes after a penalty and all of a sudden, it was only a ten-point game with 20 minutes remaining.
The Brumbies went back to a tight game and looked good to score another try but Lolesio settled for a rare drop goal to add a crucial three points for a 13-point lead.
The Rebels then blew their chance of a comeback after Dane Haylett-Petty kicked the restart out on the full and from the scrum, the Brumbies went down the left wing and Tom Wright collected a kick ahead to score his second try in as many weeks to make it 39-21.
To their credit the Rebels worked hard to end and scored a deserved try to makeshift winger Lomani for their fourth that denied the Brumbies a bonus point but still fell short by 13 points.
The Brumbies take on the Highlanders next week while the Rebels finally hit home to play the Waratahs.
The Game Changer
The Brumbies had a solid lead at the break after a brilliant first half before the Rebels mounted a comeback. Dane Haylett-Petty kicking a restart out on the full when the Rebels had a sniff of a comeback was punished by Tom Wright’s try and that kept the Brumbies at arms length.
The G&GR MOTM
Pete Samu – The man with the, mostly, tucked in jersey was getting on with the tough stuff and one of his five tackle busts to find Joe Powell lead to the Brumbies fourth try.
Matt Toomua went off early for the Rebels and didn’t have one of his best games as evident by his shank into touch to start the game and there will be more talk of who should be playing ten for the Wallabies. Dane Haylett-Petty had a very mixed game with nice try but also kicked a restart out on the full. Meanwhile, his opposite number Tom Banks put in another top game with a try and generally solid all around the park. It was another strong game from Tevita Kuridrani and on another step in getting back into the Wallabies starting side. Reece Hodge also went off to round out a quiet night for him.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Simone, Banks, Cusack, Kata, Fainga’a, Wright
Conversions: Lolesio 3
Drop goals: Lolesio
Tries: Cottrell 2, D Haylett-Petty, Lomani
Conversions: Toomua, Lomani 2