09 Mar Brumbies Beaten in Melbourne by Rebels
The Brumbies fell to a second Super Rugby defeat in succession, falling to the Rebels in Melbourne, going down 10-33 at AAMI Park, the home side scoring five tries to two to claim a well-deserved victory.
After a sluggish start in their previous two outings the Brumbies came out firing against the Australian Conference leaders and had the Rebels on the back foot early on.
This forced a succession of penalties which, following concerted pressure, gave referee Will Houston no option but to brandish a yellow card. Hooker Jordan Uelese was the unfortunate victim of the persistent infringements that yielded five penalties in the first eight minutes.
The Brumbies took full advantage as Joe Powell and Christian Lealiifano combined with the latter sending a huge miss pass to wing Chance Peni who stepped inside Dane Haylett-Petty to dive over in the corner.
The Rebels responded in kind by opting against the posts, after Reece Hodge had missed a long-range shot at goal, taking a series of set-pieces close to the Brumbies line yielding a try to Amanaki Mafi. The big number eight picked up from the back of a scrum and scored against the base of the padding on the post after half an hour, Hodge easily converting for the lead.
There was more to cheer for the home support three minutes later as, following a charge down of a Powell box kick, the Rebels attacked freely and, after making inroads deep into Brumbies territory Hodge crashed over the line and converted his own score.
The Brumbies were being made to pay for errors and only an outstanding cover tackle from Tom Banks denied winger Sefa Naivalu who pounced on a turnover and raced seventy metres diving for the corner and being bundled into touch by the visitor’s fullback.
An injury to Josh Mann-Rea on the half-time siren meant that Folau Fainga’a made his Brumbies debut at the beginning of the second half as the visiting team looked to get back into the contest, trailing 14-5.
The debutant made an instant impact with some incisive carrying as the Brumbies forced their way back into the game, reducing the deficit as a wonderful inside ball from Kyle Godwin was taken on by Henry Speight who bulldozed his way over. Wharenui Hawera, on for Lealiifano, hit the post with the conversion.
Replacement Leslie Leuluaiaili-Makin had only been on the field for a couple of minutes when he was harshly sin-binned allowing Hodge to stroll over for his second try moments later against fourteen men before Jack Maddocks and Michael Ruru added further tries as the Rebels took full advantage of the extra man to stretch clear.
Rebels (14) 33 (T: Mafi, Hodge (2), Maddocks, Ruru, C: Hodge (4))
Plus500 Brumbies (5) 10 (T: Peni, Speight)
1. Scott SIO (17. Faalelei SIONE 50’), 2. Josh MANN-REA (16. Folau FAINGA’A 41’), 3. Allan ALAALATOA (18. Leslie LEULUAIAILI-MAKIN 61’), 4. Rory ARNOLD, 5. Sam CARTER (19. Richie ARNOLD 15’) 6. Lachlan MCCAFFREY, 7. Lolo FAKAOSILEA (20. Tom CUSACK 54’), 8. Isi NAISARANI, 9. Joe POWELL (21. Matt LUCAS 54’), 10. Christian LEALIIFANO (22. Wharenui HAWERA 50’), 11. Chance PENI (3. Allan ALAALATOA 64’-74’), 12. Kyle GODWIN, 13. Tevita KURIDRANI, 14. Henry SPEIGHT, 15. Tom BANKS (23. Andy MUIRHEAD 52’)
YELLOW CARD: 18. Leslie LEULUAIAILI-MAKIN 62’