The Brumbies put their disappointing South African tour behind them with a 37-10 victory over the Rebels in Canberra. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
The win moved the Brumbies up to fourth in the overall table and was every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests. The Brumbies got off to a flyer, scoring on their first foray into the Rebels danger zone. After good work from Tevita Kuridrani, the ball was worked wide for Matt Toomua to finish in the corner. The Rebels responded with a long-range penalty from Jason Woodward, but they would have to wait until the 69th minute to add to their points tally.
The Brumbies struck next through the returning Pat McCabe who crashed over after solid work from former Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone. Toomua then grabbed his second from a trademark set-piece move, as the Brumbies threatened to cut loose.
As witnessed with the Waratahs' earlier, the Brumbies let their intensity slip in the second half. They struggled for fluidity as they rang the changes, with the Rebels making most of the play after the break. Ben Alexander was sent to the sin bin late on following repeated scrum infringements that should have resulted in a penalty try. The Rebels grabbed a try in his absence, with skipper Scott Higginbotham going over under the posts, but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Leon Power wrapped things up with a try in the final minute as the Brumbies headed into the international break on a high. The result sets things up perfectly for the Brumbies next match, a visit to Sydney to face the in-form Waratahs. The winner of that one will surely be in the driving seat to take the Australian conference and secure themselves a home play-off fixture.
Brumbies – Tries: Matt Toomua (2), Pat McCabe, Scott Sio, Sam Carter, Leon Power. Conversions: Christian Leali'ifano (2). Penalty: Leali'ifano.
Rebels – Try: Scott Higginbotham. Conversion: Jason Woodward. Penalty: Woodward.
Brumbies – 15 Pat McCabe, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Fotu Auelua, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Leon Power, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Jesse Mogg.
Rebels – 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Caderyn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Tom Kingston.
Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images