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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

Brumbies kick off Super Rugby AU with win over Rebels

The Brumbies have started their Super Rugby AU campaign off with a 31-23 bonus-point victory over the Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium Canberra last night, Saturday 4 July. 

A classic Brumbies mixture of flair and muscle saw the side score five tries, while man of the match Noah Lolesio kicked three crucial conversions. 

The home side came out of the blocks firing with Andy Murihead scoring the first five-pointer of the match off the back of an early set piece that was executed perfectly by the Brumbies, Folau Fainga’a throwing a superb inside ball to put his winger into space, and Muirhead raced over. Noah Lolesio added the extras.

The Rebels responded, former Brumby Matt To’omua kicking two penalty goals in his 100th Super Rugby match for the visitors to see the score at 7-6. 

Soaking pressure, the Brumbies earned a penalty and went back to the corner. Showing great awareness, Joe Powell saw space to his right, peeled off the back of the drive and wriggled his way over the line for the Brumbies second of the night. 

Powell then turned provider, putting Fainga’a over for the third try of the match two minutes before the half time interval, the hooker picking a peach of a line to catch the Rebels defence off guard. Lolesio converted to see the home side take a commanding 19-6 lead into the break.

It was another quick start for the Brumbies side once play resumed, with Lolesio fooling the Rebels defence with an outstanding dummy on the halfway line, finding Tom Wright on his outside who scored in the corner three minutes in to the second-half. 

The Rebels were far from defeated, the visitors next to score with Jordan Uelese scoring from a Melbourne maul. To’omua added the extras from the sideline with the Brumbies holding an 11-point lead with 20 minutes to go.

Momentum firmly with the Rebels, Dane Haylett-Petty crossed soon after for his own five pointer, with Matt To’omua adding the two, and a subsequent three to bring the Rebels within a single point. 

The Brumbies didn’t panic, and when given a chance went back to their most lauded weapon, the maul. Will Miller was the scorer, and the Brumbies were now six points clear. 

A successful conversion would put it beyond doubt, and Lolesio stepped up, swiping it over from the touchline, leaving the score at 31-23.  

That’s how it finished. A gutsy performance from the Brumbies, edging the Rebels in what was a terrific Australian derby. 
 
Plus500 Brumbies 31 (Tries: Muirhead, Fainga’a, Powell, Wright, Miller; Conversions: Lolesio 3) def Melbourne Rebels 23 (Tries: Haylett-Petty, Uelese; Conversions: To’omua 2; Penalties: To’omua 3)

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