Rebels rumble to beat Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Rebels rumble to beat Brumbies

Rebels rumble to beat Brumbies

The Rebels have snapped a five game losing streak with a come from behind 27-24 win over the Brumbies in Canberra. The visitors were down 21-5 at one stage but a spirited second half defensive display and a 78th minute balls of steel penalty goal from Reece Hodge saw them home to all but end the Brumbies 2018 season.

The Match

The Rebels scored a brilliant opening try after seven minutes with Tom English benefitting from some good work from Angus Cottrell. Cottrell collected the ball about 60 metres out and beat the covering defence of Henry Speight and offloaded to English who beat Christian Lealiifano into the left corner.

The Brumbies were unable to get much going in the opening 15 minutes with some questionable tactics and allowing the Rebels easy exits from their end with back-to-back penalties. But when they were given a chance in the opposition 22, they responded from Tom Cusack after a period of pressure right on the Rebels line and the conversion wide out from Wharenui Hawera gave them a 7-5 lead.

The momentum started to turn towards the Brumbies and the Rebels went down to 14 men just after the 20-minute mark with Amanaki Mafi copping a yellow card via the TMO after he was judged to have hit Scott Sio with a high shot. From the resulting penalty, Sio’s replacement Faalelei Sione had his first try in Brumbies colours after an offload from Cusack and Hawera’s second conversion made it 14-5.

The Brumbies went further ahead on the 30-minute mark with Rob Valetini marking his return to Super Rugby from a knee injury to get his name on the try scorer’s list. The home side swooped on a dropped ball and a few phases later, that included a cross-field kick, Valetini crashed over from close range. Hawera’s conversion made it 14 unanswered points whilst Mafi was off the field for the Rebels.

With Sio off the field after failing a HIA, the Brumbies scrum started to come under pressure. The Rebels went for the line off the penalty and with another penalty advantage, stretched the ball wide to Marika Korobiete who looked for all money to score himself but offloaded to English who had his second try of the night. Hodge was unable to convert from out wide to leave 21-10 at the break.

Embed from Getty Images

The second half started with the Rebels under the pump on their own line but came out unscathed with around nine minutes of possession with the Brumbies, including a series of scrum five metres out right in front of the sticks.

The Rebels had more work to do in their own end but came out on top with some great maul defence from Anuri Rangi to nullify the Brumbies set piece option and limited the damage to just a penalty goal after 15 minutes of pressure.

Without many chances to play, the Rebels closed the gap with a nice try from long rang with Jack Maddocks starting and ending the play with Reece Hodge able to find a gap out wide with a defensive mismatch against tiring Brumbies forwards.

That stunned them into action and they came out firing right off the restart with Mafi heavily involved as they marched downfield with ease and off the back of another penalty, they reduced the margin again with debutant Semisi Tupou scoring in the right corner and Hodge’s conversion from the sideline leveled the score with 15 minutes to go.

Both teams were throwing it around in the last ten minutes with the Brumbies going close after a Rebels error with Andy Muirhead toeing the ball ahead but the covering defence saved them as Lachlan McCaffrey knocked on in the shadows of the line.

The Brumbies had a chance to edge in front after a questionable penalty but Lealiifano was unable to land his shot from 40 metres out.

And with just two minutes remaining, the Rebels had their chance to take the lead after Sam Carter was penalised after a high shot and Reece Hodge was able to land the penalty from wide out for the 27-24 win.

The Game Changer

The Rebels defence early in the second half after being down by 14 points when under the pump saw them out of jail combined with two late tries saw them snap their losing streak


A great comeback form the Rebels sees Tom English get the nod after scoring a crucial double. Jack Maddocks and Reece Hodge a dead heat for second

Wallaby Watch

Steve Larkham was in attendance to watch this derby and Marika Koroibete seems to be getting back into form with a few good runs and setup one of English’s tries. Adam Coleman lead the forwards well and stepped up in the second half defensive effort, even with his team under a yellow card warning

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Cusack, Sione, Valetini
Conversions: Hawera 3
Penalties: Hawera
Tries: English 2, Maddocks, Tupou
Conversions: Hodge 2
Penalties: Hodge


22 mins – Mafi (Rebels) – Yellow

  • Adrian

    Didn’t pick this one, but there were a few positives in a somewhat scrappy game.
    Valentini ✔️

    • Brumby Runner

      Arnold was best or near to best lock on the ground. Would also deserve a tick.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Coleman and Arnold are looking like the first choice locking pair again. Good to see as I rate them as a team

    • Nicholas

      Shame Mafi can’t play for the Wallabies! But I did like what I saw with young Valentini with him and Timu around our no 8 stocks start to look a bit better.

      • Brumby Runner

        ASY also looked to have a lot of promise at No 8. I thought Valetini was particularly strong early on but faded as the game wore on. Maybe just a fitness issue after a long period out with injury.

  • mutley

    Well that was an absolute shitshow by the Brumbies. 2 soft tries in the first half and no imagination in attack whatsoever.

    When we had that penalty late in the second half, kicked beautifully to the corner, people around us were taking bets on how they’d stuff it up. The overthrow that eventuated was accurately predicted by a couple of punters. The absolute ease with which the Rebels moved upfield from that was ridiculous.

    Great comeback by the Rebels, but Brums are close to dead now. It will be a hard slog to get any sort of crowd for the sunwolves game.

  • David Creagh

    Seriously the Brumbies (and the whole Australian conference for that matter) are getting harder and harder to watch. I was one of the 5,000 odd at the game and I reckon the number included the catering staff, security, coaches and officials and players. If it keeps going the way it is I reckon the under 7’s that played before the game would draw a bigger crowd.

    Seriously, these guys are paid a shit tin of money to play a game most of us only get the pleasure to do for fun but seem to lack the execution of the fourth grade side I coach. Certainly respond to mistakes worse.


    • Mumma Brumby

      I agree with your comments entirely. Very poor tactics and execution by the Brumbies once more and the rest of the season is looking a bit grim.
      Dreadful attendance, even bearing in mind the freezing weather – once upon a time everyone just rugged up and went out to watch the Brumbies, but that was when they played exciting rugby.

  • Wallabrumby

    The Brumbies are masters at finding ways to lose games this year, very hard to watch. They get into great positions and then they implode! Not taking anything away from Rebels, they kept their heads and came back…but really Brumbies should have run away with it.
    If I was the coach would shake things up a bit, they cant keep rewarding poor performances – drop 10, 13, 14 for a week and give some others a go. Seasons gone now anyway.
    Is it me or is Speights defence getting worse?? I cant remember him having these issues in the past, but this year he is such a liability. I just don’t understand this rushing up and in business…surely P Ryan would have kicked his arse in by now to stop it….unless its a plan?? I just dont get it.

    • mutley

      Poor Henry is trying his guts out especially since the Waratahs game when he was pushed off by TN, but nothing seems to be working for him. He doesn’t seem to helped by the fact he always seems to left 3 on 1.

      Muirhead ran some great lines throughout the game, and Dargaville has always been solid, so maybe Henry needs some time in John I Dent.

      • Wallabrumby

        Agree with both of you BF and Mutley he seems to be getting exposed a lot this season and I just cant see why this is happening…what has changed that much in the structures that he is so exposed. Why isn’t it happening to the other wings? I feel for him, he is a great competitor, but doing himself no favours with some of the defensive reads lately.

    • BF

      I think Henry’s defence is in the spotlight because the players inside him are making defensive reads and it’s up to Henry to jockey, cover in defence.
      I thought Henry had a good game.
      He was doing some hard carries – where were the forwards?

  • Patrick

    Thank god we had Reece kicking that one.. not trying to tell the Wallabies coaches how to do their jobs, but if they want to win more matches then just kicking more of the chances we already get (without even going into the issue of making a few yards from time to time!) , then there are some easy choices for them!

  • Missing Link

    Great win by the Rebels, I tipped them to win but down 14 points, I was beginning to get nervous. Instead of rolling over they gritted their teeth and clawed their way back in.

    Interesting, I’m not sure if it was the injection of subs or Debreczeni going off but it was around about the same time they went up a gear. Despite not having a great pass, Hodge seemed to have more vision than Debreczeni and in the end his boot got the Rebels up. Timani also seemed to add a fair bit of go forward.

    At one stage, Maddocks went up for a high ball and spilled it, probably Maddocks only mistake, and Hawera was straight up in his face clapping and smiling. I bet he felt great at the 80 minute mark when his team lost, adds nothing to Aussie rugby.

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