Brumbies roll the Rebels - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies roll the Rebels

Brumbies roll the Rebels

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 Match

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.


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.

Wallaby Watch

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.

The Details

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



  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Think you nailed it with the game changed and MOTM.

    Can I say that I was also very impressed by both Valetini and Naisarani. We’ve lacked big strong back rowers for so long, and in this one derby we had three players who I believe could perform that role for the Wallabies and make us proud in Valetini, Naisarani and Samu.

    • Steve

      Valetini is looking really solid so far isn’t he… just got my fingers crossed he stays fit for the whole year, he deserves it.

      Samu great as ever.

      I thought Simone had another great game, he’s evolving his running threat and improving nicely

      • David Creagh

        Disgrace that Samu was not taken to Japan last year.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Add to that McCaffrey, Banks, Speight.

        • ForceFan

          Samu’s form this year is very different from what he was showing last year. If in any doubt check out his efforts against the WF last year in the NRC. I don’t think he earned a touch in the NRC Final. (But he wasn’t alone in that effort)

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nah, he was excellent for the Brumbies last season. Had a slow start, but was fantastic for the second half of the season. Consistently one of our top performers, along with Arnold, McCaffrey and Alaalatoa.

        • Slim 293

          Yep, after Naisarani (not far behind mind you) he had the best stats for tackle busts and metres per carry for an Aussie backrower last year……..

          He would’ve been a handy addition to the Wallabies RWC squad.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That i a Cheika annomally. I am hoping this year slections will be based on merit and form.

        • David Creagh

          Let us not speak of that name again and rebrand him Ass-clown. There were more anomalies from him to make them normal.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ah so true.

        • Steve

          I actually prefer that a lot of good players were not involved.

          We were never going to go far in the WC and better the players think ‘I could have done that better’ than have the baggage of failure

  • Bobas

    The brumbies forwards looked so slick ball in hand during the first half. The rebels look like they havent looked at a rugby ball for 3 months for the last two games until the 2nd half.

  • Huw Tindall

    2 from 2 and the Brums could be a real threat this year but then I think they only beat the Reds and Rebels who haven’t been contenders for years or ever. Still, can only beat what’s in front of you. I’d say this version of the Brums is better than 2019. Sure no Arnold, Carter and Poey but almost everywhere else the players have improved on 2019 with another year under the belt. Should easily top the Aus conference at this stage.

    • Keith Butler

      To right Huw. The Rabble on the other hand a shambles.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think the loss of Arnold will really come back to bite is against some of the stronger teams.

      • Huw Tindall

        Yeah it’s definitely a relative weak point but I’ve faith in the youngsters. NRC gas prepared them well.

      • Hutch

        Carter was also a massive loss. He was consistently near the top of the tackle counts. Our defence is noticeably worse this year without him.

        • sugarwookie

          Agreed. We can’t leak that many points against other teams, we won’t be putting 40 points on them.

      • numpty

        Agree. Brumbies maul doesn’t seem to be as big of a threat this season due to the loss of Arnold. Easily fractured a couple of times and so they switched to their variation plays.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Not in itself a bad thing. They’re having to be more creative.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pity Samu was injured last year. Mind you, I dont think Cheika would have slected him anyway. Definitely in the Wallas.

  • Keith Butler

    Where to now with the Rabble. That first half was a complete clusterfuck. Mistake after mistake and how Smith managed to stay on the pitch after having his arse handed to him on a plate was beyond me. Apart from the charge down, I like the look of Lomani but apart from him it was a generally dismal performance.

    • Steve

      Smith kept ending up fully laid out on the turf, completely overextended.

      It honestly felt like Berry felt that he had to start penalising Slipper or it was going to get really embarrassing. I get that they don’t want to let one weakness end up deciding the game, but damn.

      • Keith Butler

        You’re right Steve. On more that one occasion Smiths feet went right back and he dropped to his knees but Berry let it go. Couple of times Slipper was rightly penalised for dropping his elbow and turning in. Rebels scrum has always been a problem area. Too much emphasis on recruiting backs rather than donkeys.

  • Huw Tindall

    Swain and Frost will come good. The forward pack apprenticeship is longer than the flashy winger version but your guys are legit world class potential. Join the optimists!!

    We talk about players who have time and Lolesio is one of them. Harrison too. Don’t looked rushed.

    • Keith Butler

      Lolesio looked very good, that offload was class. No need to rush him though.

      • Huw Tindall

        Absolutely not but no reason to hold the young tyros back! Rennie said old enough good enough.

  • Hutch

    DHP had a great game, but was constantly let down by his team mates. He recovered a kickoff brilliantly, then Toomua threw a pass to no one. He made a great break, then someone knocked on. He was close to best on ground until he shanked the kickoff.

    • Cornchips

      And the penalty kick

    • Geoffro

      DHP is and has been a rocks and diamonds player.Frustrating

  • Geoffro

    Fuxsports have already awarded Lolesio the wallaby 10 jersey :]

  • numpty

    1. Simone MoM for me and now WB bolter.
    2. Lolesio good at creating spark, made a few rookie errors though in defence, clearances.
    3. Hodge lost in 13 channel – 2 tries coming through there.
    4. Toomua busted his gut in a dismal rebels 1st half.
    5. Samu and Valetini good again.
    6. Rebels bench 9 and loosies very good
    7. rebels forwards handling rubbish – poorly drilled.
    8. TK non-existent in attack.
    9. Brumbies rolling maul no more? Seemed easy to fracture so they resorted to their blindside variations.

    • Brumby Runner

      On the maul, the loss of Rory Arnold just can’t be over-estimated.

      • sugarwookie

        I still shed tears most nights at his departure. </3

    • Mica

      I thought Lomani looked better when he went to the wing too.

  • Tim

    The rebels just look like they haven’t trained with each-other in the pre season. A lot of unforced errors and at times poor defense. Toomua although is good in defense there attack was poor and only improved when the whole back-line got reshuffled. Brumbies should have put the nail in the coffin earlier and closed the game out. Will be interesting to see how they go against NZ and SA teams. Rebels will get spanked they cant even hold their own scrum.

  • Reds Revival

    When is McCaffrey due to come back? He’s been on the sidelines for the last couple of weeks. I haven’t heard anything about injuries for him.

    • He only got back from Japan about a week before the season started. He did play in the curtain raiser last night.

      • Brumby Runner

        And he had a particularly strong game in the curtain raiser. In everything, and showed he still has a deal of creativity in his play. Reckon we’ll see him in the starting xv next week.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What do you think our strongest back row is? It’s tough to fit all of McCaffeey, Valetini and Samu in.

          All I know is that I don’t think it includes Cusack. Miller is a quality player, but I’d like to see Brown starting again.

        • Brumby Runner

          My four back rowers, three starters and one on the bench, would be Valetini, Samu, McCaffrey and Brown. If Brown starts he plays 7 and McCaffrey is on the bench. If McCaffrey starts, then Samu plays 7 and Brown on the bench.

          Brown left the field in the Runners game with what looked like a head knock. Cusack left the main game with a head knock. Any news on their respective fitness?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          See, I start from here:

          Who is our best 7? I think it is Brown. I think he gets first nod over Miller as he knows the systems well. I don’t think Samu is a 7.

          Who is our best 6? I think it is Valetini, as I want a guy who will make big hits in defence and pressure the breakdown. McCaffrey and Samu make their tackles but aren’t as dominant in defence.

          Who is our best 8? Well, Samu has better ball running and tackle breaking power. But I think McCaffrey is more skilful and better running out wide. Both decent at the breakdown. I might err towards McCaffrey if he is in top form, as he jumps in the line out.

          But then, should we bite the bullet and bench Valetini? Probably not.

          All depends on form…

        • Brumby Runner

          And Samu is the form back rower in the Aus teams, certainly in the Brumbies and has been for most of last year as well as so far this year. So, I think the bench spot is between Brown and McCaffrey. Decision probably rests on who the opposition is.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          To be honest, I thought McCaffrey was probably our best back rower last year. At least until he got injured about halfway through the season. Samu was the best from there onward.

          Good ‘problem’ to have.

        • Brumby Runner

          But still only one injury away from a real step down in quality. Cusack continues to play 7 but I don’t think has won a turnover in a long time. Miller is supposed to be a No 7, but again he is very short on winning turnover ball. Both have strengths but are not nearly as good as the other four.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Miller is good at the breakdown . Quality player.

        • Mica

          Miller was about the only on baller the ‘Tahs had last season.
          Next best was probably HJH. Hooper can get turn over ball when using his speed to be first in and get the pill before the clean out arrives.

        • Mica

          Good problem to have……

        • Mica

          Brumbies really are spoilt for back rowers. You can field two complete back rows full of quality.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Steve, Brumbies continue to look good. They seem to have a better balance than the other teams and their youngsters are really stepping up which is pleasing. Interestingly I think it was the established players that failed to step up for the Rebels. Hodge is just not a 13, he cant distribute and goes missing on Defence. I thought DHP was unlucky because he just seemed to have to do everything and it caught up with him.
    It’ll be interesting to see how the Brumbies go away from home as that will really show if their form is up there. Going well so far and I think they’ll do well.
    I still think the Rebels biggest issue is their constant change of roster. People need time to settle in and if you haven’t got the confidence that you’ll be supported it’s very hard to play well.
    Bang on with the MOTM and the game changer too

  • Nutta

    The Donkeys were deserved winners. Can’t argue about that.

    However momentum is a funny thing and i reckon Smithy was bloody hard done by with those first three scrum penalties going against him. Those should have been on Sio IMO. Reverse those and have quality on the field longer (Hodge) and it would have changed the complexion of that game significantly.

    And whilst I agree with Samu as MOTM particularly given the Donkeys won, that Rangi has to get a shot at gold sooner or later – he’s a dead set warrior.

    But they didn’t, he didn’t and so it went…

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