MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 11: Tom Wright of the Brumbies scores a try against Lukas Ripley of the Rebels during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between the Melbourne Rebels and the ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park on March 11, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)
Brumbies brush aside Melbourne Rebels 17-36 to remain unbeaten in Super Rugby Pacific at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
The Brumbies eased to a comfortable six tries to two victory against a confused and indecisive Rebels in Melbourne.
The Brumbies remain unbeaten after four rounds of Super Rugby Pacific and go top of the standings, although, the Crusaders and Queensland Reds still have to play.
The Rebels, however, are yet to register a win in this year’s competition and sit a disastrous 11th on the table.
Rob Valetini, Len Ikitau, Tom Wright (twice), Jahrome Brown, and Tom Banks all crossed for the Brumbies to seal the bonus-point victory in Victoria.
Cabous Eloff and Richard Hardwick both dotted down for the blunt Melbourne Rebels, but besides a promising first quarter, the home team faded.
To highlight the home team’s woes, a series of penalties and sustained attacks inside their opponent’s 22 after the hooter, ended with no points.
Sefo Kautai and James Slipper were both yellow carded. The Rebels, however, did not cross despite playing with two extra players as the game went almost eight minutes into added time.
A tap-and-go after Slipper’s card was baffling. The Brumbies had both props off the field, and yet Melbourne did not opt for an attacking scrum next to the posts. Wow.
The Brumbies, after a slow start, take control in the third quarter
Reece Hodge missed an early penalty attempt from long distance before tries in six minutes put the visitors up by 12-0.
Three first-half tries by Valetini, Ikitau, and Wright gave the Brumbies a deserved 14-point lead at the break despite the Rebels enjoying all the territory and possession in the opening 20 minutes.
Valetini opened the scoring before Ikitau doubled the lead.
It was something from nothing. Jesse Mogg stood up the defenders and offloaded to Banks.
Banks dragged in Andrew Kellaway and Tamati Ioane-Niko, who both slipped off the fullback before sending Ikitau away untouched to score.
On 36 minutes, Nic White broke blind and floated a long, cut-out pass to Wright, who dotted down in the corner untouched.
Noah Lolesio converted Valeini’s try, but not the other two scores.
To’omua did get the hosts on the board at the half-hour mark. A minute later, however, Glen Vaihu took out Banks in the air and was duly yellow-carded.
Vaihu’s ill-discipline cost his team five points when Wright scored in the corner five minutes later.
Lolesio, who struggled from the tee, could not convert as the Brumbies led 17-3.
The Canberra men had a late chance to increase their lead but eschewed a shot at goal for an attacking lineout, but nothing came of it.
The Brumbies pull away after the break despite two Melbourne Rebels scores
Both teams traded tries soon after the restart. Wright latched on to a pin-point Banks’ grubber to net a brace and his 20th Super Rugby try.
It came from To’omua’s mistake. The standoff let Banks’ rolling grubber bounce over the try line.
To’omua did not see Wright, and the winger’s patience paid off. Banks began the attack when he collected a bounce-pass and sped from outside his 22 to the Rebels’ 22 before putting in the kick.
Eloff crashed over a few minutes later to keep the Rebels in the game. Both tries were converted to make it 10-24 to the away team.
Dan McKellar’s men hit back on 51 minutes when Brown burst through a driving maul near the Rebels’ line to make to open up a 19-point advantge.
White spent time on the naughty step after a series of totting up offences; yet the home team could not take advantage of the extra man.
The Rebels could not make their numbers count as White’s card cost nothing.
Kevin Foote’s men did score again with 11 minutes to play when Hardwick’s well-worked converted try pulled the scores to within 12.
But Banks’ powerful angled run put paid to any Rebels come back when he crossed with less than four to play.
Final Score: Melbourne Rebels 17 (3) Brumbies 36 (17)
Tries – Eloff, Hardwick
Pen – To’omua
Con – To’omua (2)
Cards – Vaihu (Yellow, 31′)
Tries – Valetini, Ikitau, Wright (2), Brown, Banks
Con – Lolesio (2), R. Lonergan
Cards – White (Yellow, 57′), Kautai (Yellow, 83′), Slipper (Yellow, 86′)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:James Quinn
TMO: Brett Cronan
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lukas Ripley, 12 Ray Nu’u, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Tamati Ioane-Niko, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Michael Wells (captain), 5 Josh Canham, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr
Replacements: 16 Efi Ma’afu, 17 Isaac Aedo Kailea, 18 Rhys Van Nek, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Carter Gordon, 23 Young Tonumaipea
15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Jesse Mogg, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Allan Ala’alatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Ed Kennedy, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Rod Iona, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia