Rebels stuns Brumbies in wet conditions - Green and Gold Rugby
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Rebels stuns Brumbies in wet conditions

Rebels stuns Brumbies in wet conditions

The Melbourne Rebels put on a first-half masterclass to trounce the Brumbies 30-12 in Sydney.

The Rebels handled the treacherous conditions, contrasting strong front-foot ball from the pack, and precision kicking from the back, with sloppy handling and indecision from the Brumbies.

The Rebel’s first half was impressive, putting 27 points on the Brumbies, the highest half time score for the Melbourne outfit away from home. They outplayed the ladder leading Brumbies in almost every aspect, scoring four tries and conceding only one.

The decision to play Deegan flyhalf and To’omua inside centre and leave Meaks on the bench repaid Wessels. The former Australia U20s and Connacht flyhalf adapted to the conditions and showed a fine use of the boot to steer the Rebels to a remarkable victory.

Deegan had a major impact on the game.

The Brumbies have only themselves to blame, as in the last game against the Reds, they showed their limits, having only the drive from touch as a real attacking weapon, they were too predictable.

Their senior players weren’t able to lead the younger ones.  Discipline was poor, and their ball handling was appalling.

First Half

It was a nervous start for Deegan, who fumbled his first touch and almost gifted early points to the Brumbies.  thankfully, Frank Lomani was on the scene to clean up.

The former Force flyhalf was quick to redeem himself using at best the 50-22 rule with a perfectly weighted kick which forced Banks to scramble the ball in touch.  On the next phase, Deegan combined finely with Lomani and To’omua to unleash Hodge out wide for the first try of the night.

A lucky break from Koroibete created the chance for the Rebels’ second try. The wallaby winger running and kicking the ball for eighty meters before Wilkin touched down over for the Melbournians.

The Brumbies got one back with their usual drive from touch, this time it was Powell to score after literally stripping the ball out of Fainga’a’s hands.

Joe Powell scores a try offa rolling maul.

The Rebels got a third try thanks to Hodge diving on a clever grubber kick from To’omua. The fullback beat Banks over the chalk to touch the ball down for his second try of the night.

After a To’omua penalty, Uelese scored the fourth try for the Rebels two minutes before the half-time siren.

Deegan used his boot again to get the Rebels in attacking position again seconds before the end of the first half. The Rebels lineout worked perfectly to steal the ball and win a penalty inches from the try line. Referee Cooper showed Cusack the yellow card after the fourth team penalty in the red zone committed by the Brumbies.

First Half score: Rebels 27 – Brumbies 7

Second Half

Despite having one player in the bin, the Brumbies dominated the begin of the second half, they avoided conceding any points to the Rebels and even treated to score, had they not lost the ball forward 8 meters from the try line.

Jermaine Ainsley had a good game upfront.

Although it was To’omua to score the first points of the second half with a precise penalty kick from 35 meters out.

In control of the game, the Rebels had most of the possession and territory but they weren’t able to score their fifth try.  The Brumbies had the last word, thanks to replacement backrower Miller.  The converted Try denied the Rebels a crucial bonus point.

Final Score: Rebels 30 – Brumbies 12

The Game Changer

The third Rebel’s try was not a knock out punch the Brumbies never recovered from. The Brumbies dropped the shoulder after seeing Hodge over the try line for his second try.


At his only second start in Super Rugby, Andrew Deegan orchestrated the team perfectly, his fine use of the boot and, bar one error in the first minute, his ball control was excellent, given the greasy ball in extremely wet conditions.

Wallaby Watch

Andrew Deegan was instrumental for the win, but local Melbourne talent Trevor Hosea played like a seasoned veteran in a dominant Rebels’ forward pack. With locks becoming an endangered species, he can have a shot at the Green and Gold jersey.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Rebels 30 (27):

Tries: Hodge (2), Wilkin, Uelese
Conv.: Toomua 2/4
Pen.: Toomua 2/2

Brumbies 12 (7):
Tries: Powell, Miller
Conv.: Kuenzle 1/1, Lonergan 0/1

Cards & citings

Cusack 40′


One guy with a pink umbrella, teams’ staff, Foxtel production team

  • Huw Tindall

    My my what a game, especially considering the conditions which were horrendous with the rain lashing down.

    Think Two Cows sowed up the 12 jersey with that performance and hope to see Deegan and him at 10/12 the rest of the season. As pointed out by the author, Deegan looked right at home and controlled the game well.

    Hodge remains an enigma. Outclassed Banks tonight but as soon as DHP is fit he’ll be back at 15. Honestly I don’t know what to do with this guy. The High Performance Unit need to agree where Hodge should be playing and pick and stick. Poor bloke has played more positions than I’ve had hot dinners. IMO his skill set suggests he should be a 15. Massive boot, good under the high ball, good front on defense, enough pace to cover the backfield, runs excellent lines, decent pass and can come into the line to play if required. Not enough pace to be a winger and would need a lot of time under the belt to convert to a 12 or 13 to get use to the positional requirements.

    What happened to the Brums though? IMO best ever game the Rebels have played in franchise history and that’s not hyperbole. Completely outclassed the Brums tonight. Are the Brums not as good as we thought? Could have been 0 from 3 had they not got out of gaol against the Tahs and Reds. Or is it the other teams stepping up to compete with more #cohesion with more games under the belt. I think the latter – Brums are still class but the other teams are catching up.

    Great game again though in AU!! Just need the Force to spring an upset now!

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      With you on Hodge. He’s failed too many times at 13 to be there without a lot of games and even then there are others who are much better. Maybe he needs to sell himself as a 15 and look for a club that will play him there. TBH I think he’s a better 15 than DHP but when he’s the captain it’s a big call to leave him out

    • Keith Butler

      Lots of humble pie today apart from one disgruntled fan. Didn’t see that one coming at all. Spot on about Hodge he needs to pick and stick. One of the Rebs faults over a number of years with various players.

    • Gun

      I think you’re right. A mate said to me a couple of years back that Hodge was a 15 and I think last night showed that’s his position. A good utility off the bench in the national team but shouldn’t start.

    • Adrian

      Hodge definitely an outstanding player.
      I don’t think there is any shame about being one of the first Wallabies picked, but picked to wear 23. I think he’s an excellent fit at 23, but not necessarily a lock-in for any other backline positions even if he spent a whole season (or two) in the same position.

  • My what a performance from the Rebels. They were fired up and ready for that. There were nerves on show, and some mistakes in the rain, sure, but they played hard, they played for each other, and they kept on going.

    I honestly thought the Brumbies tight five would squeeze the life out of them, but it was just not to be. Almost the whole side looked it forgot to turn up for huge parts of the match. Maybe they were just shell-shocked by the way the Rebels took the game to them, but they looked uninterested and as if they had no pride.

    I get into trouble for comparing games between SR Australia and SR Aotearoa, but the comparison between this game and the Saders v Canes is almost irresistible, and why I continue to maintain the Kiwis play to a higher standard, however unpopular that makes me. Both were first v third on the table. Both show as the underdog winning. At the 60 minute mark, give or take, the lower-placed team was comfortably ahead. But, of course, the Saders came back and almost snuck the tie and extra time and who knows. At no point did the Saders look out of it, and like they’d given up. That consistency, week in, week out, playing for the win, putting maximum effort in, that is the difference.

    I hope the Rebels build on this. It was a great performance. I hope the Reds build on their near miss last week too. It will make for an interesting final couple of weeks if ends up trying to squeeze the Reds, Rebels and Brumbies into the finals!

    • Gun

      Does it matter if there is a difference between Rugby rotary hoer and Oz style? Was a great game in treacherous conditions well adjudicated. I’ll take that every week over the arrogance and the hubris of the shaggers.

      • UTG

        If the Brumbies had come back the narrative would have been ‘Australian teams don’t know how to win.’

        Every week there is a novel attempt to shoehorn in a baseless comparison.

        • Gun

          Yes mate good point. For instance I don’t give a rats arse what happened in the pro 14 etc in the game between x and y.

      • laurence king

        Refereeing was good wasn’t it! WA guy and first Super game I believe.

        • Brumby Runner

          Nah, pretty poor actually, but didn’t alter the result.

        • Kevino

          Have to agree, had no idea which way he would call a scrum all night.

    • Jason

      I think equal parts the Rebs stepping up and the Brumbs not showing up. I think the Brumbies were probably tired after really targeting the Reds game last week — that was a really important game, where they were pushed further than any team has been all year.

      • idiot savant

        Yeah I think the Brums were definitely flat. Ive been waiting to see if a side would reach the stage of being flat because the intensity has been terrific in the competition so far. (Wonder if the Reds will be flat tonight?) I wonder if Sio is looking for some big overseas coin. He’s starting to play like it.

        And agree that the Rebs stepped up. Their forward pack was great. Hosea looks like a real find and Wilkin played the house down.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Every team has a bad one and better now than in the final. I think you’re right and after last week they just hadn’t come down to earth.

      • HK Red

        Liam Wright referenced that post-match, along the lines of “The way they celebrated that win, like they’d just won the grand final, that’s good for us, shows how much teams fear us, shows you have to really fight to beat us and we’re doing the right things”.

        So agree with all the comments that Brums had their big game last week, weren’t in it mentally last night and likely thought they’d cruise for the win.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Wish I’d thought of that before making my picks

      • Steve

        Agree KARL – frankly the Brumbies have had this coming for a few games as they’ve been well below their best.

        Can only hope this has the intended effect of shocking then back into life.

        Crazy as it may sound but are they already dependent on Lolesio? I think BK is a solid young player but they backline has looked flat as a dawn river since Lolesio been out

    • laurence king

      I think you’re correct in your assessment, but the NZders are 3 weeks further into their comp. That said, the Crusaders of 3 weeks ago were still a class above Brums or Rebs of last night.

  • Gun

    Go Rebels. Ponies only have one trick. That Whistler was very good.

  • Crescent

    Here for my serving of humble pie – after saying the Brumbies would be too composed, they simply could not get into the game. The Rebels applied sustained pressure and the Brumbies cracked.

    Full credit to the Rebels – controlled possession nicely, managed the conditions and valued the ball in hand and rightly took the chocolates. Finally played up to their ability, unlike some of the earlier games.

  • Jason

    I think Deegan will never be the best player on the park any game he plays in. But IMO at least he was entirely the reason behind the change in the Rebels performance. Playing a genuine 10 and Toomua at 12 gives the Rebels a much better backline. Now they just need to find a away to get Hodge into playing 13 regularly.

    • Keith Butler

      If he can steer the team round the park like he did last night with Toomua at 12 I won’t complain. Also impressed with Lomani at 9 and Hosea (again). Will be interesting when DHP comes back and English (from Japan?)

    • Kevino

      Hodge is not a 13, it’s his worst position in the back line. Magnay and English are ahead of Hodge at 13 according to Wessels. I’d even pick DHP and Toomua at 13 before Hodge and let him play 12 or 15.

      • Jason

        Hodge isn’t enough of a ball player to play 12 IMO. He’s got the size to play 13, he’s probably suspect in defence because he doesn’t play it enough. But otherwise he’d make a really nice 13. He’s not a fullback, he’s not a 10, he’s not a winger.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks 22M, a huge breakfast of humble pie being eaten this morning. That was an impressive display and I’m with you 100% on Deegan. He was outstanding and the combination of him and Toomua at 12 worked very well and may show what the Wallabies will look like later on this year, but perhaps with different players.
    The Brumbies were terrible and about the only positive thing that can come out of it is better to have a bad game now and not in the final. In saying that some players such as Banks seemed to be playing his way out of a yellow jersey. Be interesting to see if we get the same this afternoon

    • idiot savant

      Yeah Banks sure does look like he’s playing his way out of the 15 jersey at this stage.

  • Rugby Truth

    Thought the refereeing was off.
    Such things like;
    – occasion where Brumbies demolished the Rebels scrum. When the whistle blew, all the Rebels were picking themselves off the floor, the referee order a scrum reset.

    – penalised a Brumbies player for running in a Rebels players line on kick, but 10 minutes later Kellaway stops and uses a deliberate shoulder charge to take a Brumbies chaser off his running line.

    – Incident where Hardwicke was off his feet at the ruck, then slides his hands on the ball and the Brumbies get penalised for not releasing.

    – Matt Phillip was 1/2 metre off side all night at the defensive 10 channel, not once penalised. Whereas the Brumbies were pinged numerous occasions when that little plastic bit at the end of the bootlaces flopped over the line. Cusack even got carded for a dubious offside call.

    – how on earth could the TMO award Uluese try. Uluese wasn’t celebrating, the Rebels reserves warming up had disappointing looks on their faces. You could not see the try line. But Uluese hands lost The ball in front of the Brumbies defensive feet (You have to think in a defensive situation, the defensive players have their feet on the try line!!!) Ps. The on-field decision was no try, definitely not clear and evident he scored.

    NOW, having said that, the Rebels definitely played better and deserved the win. In fact, their best ever performance in their history. Whereas one of the Brumbies worst ever performances.
    The Rebels game management in the conditions wad superior. What did Greg Clarke say – the Brumbies had 17 kicks charged down!
    With the refereeing inconsistencies the Brumbies could’ve been chasing the game about 9 points down instead of 23 points.

    Never thought I’d say it, but bring back Gardiner.

    • HK Red

      I’ll give you the Uelese try. The ball was definitely grounded, but I don’t think you could definitively say it was over the line. I have no idea why the commentators constantly talk up George Ayoub, perhaps it’s all tongue-in-cheek. He is easily the worst TMO operating anywhere.

      • laurence king

        Oh, there was that one guy, a Kiwi fella, at the World Cup who thought the whole competition rose and fell depending on how many interventions he could make, even going back to Cain and Abel.

    • laurence king

      I have no skin in the game and I thought Cooper had a good game, few mistakes both ways. As to Uelese’s try, he grounded it, replays showed that, question whether it was over the line was touch and go, reasonable decision.

    • Ads

      I thought the ref was good.

  • mortlucky

    Great dominant tackling is inspiring for a whole team.
    Lomani’s passing deserves a shoutout.

  • UTG

    Rebels have built their game plan around Jake White’s style. Very surprised to see so many write them off beforehand in a wet-weather game.

    Isi Naisarani is a beast and will be Wallaby 8. Matt Toomua is far and away our best 12. I don’t see Banks or Sio near the starting side.

    • laurence king

      Wondering if Banks is carrying some injury, just hasn’t come back the same player has he?

      • Kevino

        His not the only player to come back off, just stands out as everyone expects a lot from him.

        My honest opinion about Banks, I have always wondered why so many people get upset when he does not get the Wallabie 15 jersey, yes his a good player. Does he do anything to show he would be a top international 15? Not that I have seen, great in attack, always looks good when the Brumbies pack fires and makes space for him. When the pack struggles he struggles.

  • Alister Smith

    My brief thoughts – the Rebels pack was clearly superior on the night – Wilkins played well – Naisarani a standout too but the tight five probably one it and some of the Brumbies mistakes were uncharacteristic (line out throws directly to the opposition from a 5 – 10 metre attacking lineout). Deegan was good, some judicious kicking – not the biggest boot but (at least 80% of the time) kicking to the right places and keeping the Brumbies away from penalty/lineout/rolling maul reach. Thought Lomani could have adjusted his pass to the conditions a little but pretty swift service generally. Toomua controlled well – do we need to play both him and O’Connor?? or just one with a young 10 and then switching. Korobiete is a special player. He might be limited in some of the traditional kicking skills of a winger but the work he does both on and off the ball and in both defence and attack is pretty amazing – a very high work rate player.

    If the Reds can win tonight this is shaping up as a very good battle between the top 3 sides. The Brumbies won’t play that badly (or let another side play that well) again this year I don’t think.

    • laurence king

      I think that if all the teams can be competitive by the end of this competition then it will have served it’s purpose. I liked the way Deegan played last night, {hopefully they will stick with him), Toomua was good at 12, Hodge was great but boy their forwards aimed up.

    • idiot savant

      I was just starting to like Toomua at 10 and then he gives a man of the match performance at 12. Perhaps his stint at 10 has made him into a more creative 12? That first try resulted from his 10 nous when he flattened up the backline on his second touch which created the space for the Hodge try. And no sulking from bing displaced, he played his role and then some. But most of all, I thought how much more lethal the whole Rebels backline looks with a first 5 and a second 5. I believe the secret to the Reds turnaround has been the same with JOC and Stewart. If you have two guys in the fulcrum positions looking to make the play for others all options are on the table. I was thinking the Wallabies would start with Toomua at 10 and JOC at 12 but after that I think it will be the other way around!

      I just love what a straight shooter Toomua is. He confessed in a podcast last week that he has been overly structured his whole career and needed to learn the ‘art of the 10′ and last night he said in the post match interview that ‘it looks like ill be playing a lot more centre, Deegs was outstanding’. Generous and honest. A real leader.

  • HK Red

    (Sarcasm font on)

    What was the name of the nightclub where the Rebs and Brums played this match? That DJ was lit!

    (Sarcasm font off)

  • Timbo

    Rebs did a great job of shutting down Samu and that played a big impact on the result. He was really quiet in the second half and I forgot he was even playing.
    Muirhead needs a haircut. The cornrows aren’t fooling anyone. Even Kata doesn’t both with that level of silly hair.
    Rebs run on front row really gave it to the Brums and Mat Phillip has to be getting a look in for Wallabies with his line out steals.
    Degan looked solid but the Kunzle had a few good touches despite the Brumbies running out with teflon coated hands.
    Was also good to see Mangay back.

    Brumbies throwing their hands up at the ref EVERYTIME there was a brumby looking to steal at ruck time was disappointing but to be expected.

    • laurence king

      Some guys on this forum don’t have any hair to be silly with.

    • laurence king

      Phillip did look didn’t he, and his partner

  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    Well, I thought the game would play out as it did, except the Brumbies dishing it up, not being cleaned up.

    Well done Rebels, but now they have to back it up next week.

  • IIPA

    Magnay was good last night too. Hits hard and always got over the ad line.

    Head and shoulders above Kuridrani who as is often want to do has been really just mailing in most of his recent matches.

ACT Brumbies

Diego Ghirardi is a rugby fanatic from Italy, living in Melbourne. Played on the wing, now mainly couch flanker or sideline halfback. Enjoys writing in broken English, which should be read in a Franco Cozzo accent to render it more original. In case you understand Italian, you can read his banters on or better not

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