A four-try bonus point has highlighted a tough win for the University of Canberra Brumbies over the Rebels on Friday night in Melbourne, with the visitors eventually walking away 30-13 winners.
The win moves the Brumbies to the top of the Super Rugby ladder and with a bye next week, guarantees them 13 points heading into the round-four clash with the Waratahs.
An improved unit, the Rebels gave the Brumbies plenty to think about and led 13-12 at half time thanks to a quality try by Scott Higginbotham and the boot of James O’Connor.
But a more composed effort in the second half and the better share of momentum swung the match in the Brumbies favour.
Head Coach Jake White said any win away from home was worth celebrating but his focus would now turn to beating the Waratahs in two week’s time.
“In the second half I thought we adapted well to the way the laws were being interpreted in the first, I thought the composure shown in the change room was impressive and I was happy that we didn’t panic, we just stuck to our processes and what we should have been doing,” White said.
“The Rebels made a big statement from the kickoff when they went wide and we knew that they were going to play like that. But when Kurtley (Beale), Phipps, O’Connor and Higginbotham got a bang, there aren’t too many sides in the competition that could lose that many quality players and still stay composed.
“It gives us confidence moving forward, all these learning curves we put in our memory bank. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. They were up for it, they got a win last week and with Beale and O’Connor in their backs they were always going to try to test us out wide.”
The Brumbies first try went to Jesse Mogg for the second week running. Calling for the ball on the sideline from evergreen winger Clyde Rathbone, Mogg chipped into the in-goal then out-sprinted O’Connor to claim his third try in two games.
While O’Connor added points from off the boot, it wasn’t enough to stem the flow of the Brumbies second half onslaught.
Rathbone’s first try in five years was the result of some quality lead up work from his inside backs, while Ben Mowen pinned his ears back and darted 40 metres after swooping on a loose ball. When Robbie Coleman barged over from close range with six minutes to play, the game was won and a bonus point sewn up.
University of Canberra Brumbies 30 (Robbie Coleman, Jesse Mogg, Ben Mowen, Clyde Rathbone tries Christian Lealiifano 2 cons 2 pens) bt Melbourne Rebels 13 (Scott Higginbotham try James O’Connor con 2 pens) at AAMI Park. Referee: James Leckie. Crowd: 12,092.
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Siliva Siliva)
3. Dan Palmer (replaced by Scott Sio)
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter (replaced by Fotu Auelua)
6. Peter Kimlin
7. David Pocock (replaced by Colby Faingaa)
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua (replaced by Ian Prior)
11. Clyde Rathbone (replaced by Robbie Coleman)
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Andrew Smith
14. Joseph Tomane (replaced by Tevita Kuridrani)
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Fotu Auelau
18. Scott Sio
19. Colby Faingaa
20. Ian Prior
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Tevita Kuridrani