The Brumbies have won by a convincing 37-10 scoreline tonight against an underwhelming Melbourne Rebels team at Canberra Stadium in front of a crowd of 11,071 in the last game before the international break.
The defence for the Brumbies was what won them the encounter, quelling most Rebels attacks and keeping them at bay throughout the duration of the night.
Wallabies Nic White and Matt Toomua led the way for the team from the capital, with both halfbacks combining several times to set up tries; Toomua scoring two of them.
Tevita Kuridrani also starred for the Brumbies with 85 running metres, most of them while bustling through two or three opposition tacklers; Fotu Auelua doing much the same in the first half with his six carries.
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The Brumbies exploited Melbourne’s weakness of conceding early tries when Toomua drifted wide to become the last receiver down the right flank to sneak under Tom English and score after only three minutes.
The Rebels brought it back to 5-3 only moments later, before a lovely ball from Toomua inside to Clyde Rathbone and an offload to Pat McCabe gave the Brumbies their second in ten minutes.
The try wasn’t without controversy, with slow-motion replays showing Toomua’s ball was a forward pass.
The Rebels were caught on the back foot, and a poor defensive set up exposed them once again when Nic White broke the line and passed outside to Toomua, who was allowed to go to the try-line unchallenged for his second of the night and the Brumbies third inside fifteen minutes.
The Rebels were cold in the first quarter of the game, with the Brumbies dominating possession and the Rebels fumbling whenever they had an opportunity.
It wasn’t until after that twenty minute mark that Melbourne began to fight their way back into the contest with several runs and promising scrums halting the momentum of the Brumbies.
The ten minutes of possession the Rebels ended abruptly when Scott Sio did his Wallabies chances no harm. The prop was on hand to pick and drive for the Brumbies bonus point try to lead 22-3 in the 30th minute following Auelua’s bullocking run from ten metres out.
Sitting on only three points from their one penalty goal, the Rebels pushed hard after the half-time siren to get their first try, only for the Brumbies to steal the ball, send it over the touchline, and send them teams into the rooms for the main break with the Brumbies leading 25-3.
With the bonus point already wrapped up, the Brumbies turned the game into a merciless domination when another pick and drive try was scored just moments after the resumption of play to get them past them 30-point mark to lead 32-3; courtesy of lock Sam Carter.
The second half slowed down dramatically during the middle portion, and it wasn’t until Scott Higginbotham edged himself over the try line after 70 minutes did something of significance happen; a try for Melbourne.
Moments later, a great linebreak from Jason Woodward, Bryce Hegarty and new youngster Jack Debreczeni saw the latter cross the line for what was thought to be the Rebels second consecutive try, only for the TMO to overrule it and leave the Rebels stranded on 10 points. It was adjudged Debreczeni had lost control of the ball before it was planted to ground.
Substitute Leon Power applied the icing to the cake with a last minute try to win the game 37-10, putting the Brumbies right back into contention for finals.
It was a poor showing from the Rebels, with any foray into opposition zones being shut down by the Brumbies resolute defence. Contrariwise, any Brumbies attacks were met with little challenge from the Rebels.
The away team looked tiresome and, at times, confused with turnovers aplenty in both halves of the game. Wayward passes, sloppy ball control, moments of trepidation, and little effort in chasing were all ripe for the Rebels, and will be areas that Tony McGahan will have to eradicate from his young squad in order to challenge the better teams.
The Rebels conceded 21 turnovers by full-time -- the majority of them occurring in the first half -- while defence and set-plays were lacklustre against a team who has been one of the poorest in those same areas all season. The Brumbies ended up winning 86 rucks to 60, and won 12 rucks to 5.
The home team had the majority of possession as well, finishing with a 60%-40% advantage.
Courtesy of the Western Force’s loss yesterday, the Brumbies will move up into 4th position on the table, and 2nd in the Australian conference with 9 wins from 14 games. The Rebels will remain in 13th position on 4 wins.
All teams will take a months break for the international tests before they return at the end of June, with the Rebels to take on the Reds at home on June 27 and the Brumbies to play the Waratahs away on June 28.ACT Brumbies 37 (Toomua 3' + 16', McCabe 12', Sio 30', Carter 42', Power 79'; Leali'ifano 2/6 conv., 1/1 pen.) def. Melbourne Rebels 10 (Higginbotham 69'; Woodward 1/1 conv., 1/1 pen.)