Brumbies too good for winless Rebels, despite three yellow cards
Wing Tom Wright collected a double among the Brumbies’ haul of six as they continued the Super Rugby Pacific misery for the Rebels with a thumping 36-17 victory in Melbourne.
The Brumbies had four tries before the Rebels scored their first in their Friday match, to continue their unbeaten start from four games.
The Rebels remain winless – their ninth loss in succession dating back to last season – in an alarming form slump.
Newly re-signed Wallabies wing Andrew Kellaway, who had an off-season foot injury, made his first appearance but he was given few opportunities in their disjointed attack.
The Rebels had plenty of ball and territory early in the first half but too often were let down by poor execution.
The Brumbies, meanwhile, made the most of their chances with flank Rob Valetini running on to a ball from Allan Alaalatoa and then beating two men and dragging another two across the line for his third try of the season.
The score was 12-0 after 26 minutes when centre Len Ikitau benefited from some good lead-up work by Jesse Mogg and Tom Banks, and flimsy Rebels defence.
The home side wasn’t helped when they lost Glen Vaihu to a yellow card after the young wing took out the legs of a leaping Banks.
While he was off Wright scored the first of his two tries, coming off a floating Nic White pass with the Brumbies taking a 17-3 lead into half-time.
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That blew out by another five points at the 42-minute mark after Banks made a long-range break and then kicked ahead with the ball bouncing away from Matt Toomua, with Wright pouncing on his second.
Flank Jahrome Brown was another to find an easy passage to the line.
The Rebels delivered their best try of the season in the 62nd minute, with fleet-footed centre Ray Nu’u sparking the attack before reserve flank Richard Hardwick found the tryline.
But the Brumbies had the last say, with in-form Banks charging on to a perfectly timed pass from James Slipper and charging ahead to score their sixth of the match.
For the Melbourne Rebels
Tries: Eloff, Hardwick
Cons: Toomua 2
For the Brumbies
Tries: Valetini, Ikitau, Wright 2, Brown, Banks
Cons: White, Lolesio, Lonergan
Yellow cards: Glen Vaihu (Rebels, 31 – foul play, tackling a player in the air), Nic White (Brumbies, 57 – repeated infringements, offside), Sosefo Kautai (Brumbies, 80+ – repeated infringements, offside), James Slipper (Brumbies, 80+ – repeated infringements, offside)
Rebels: 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, 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
Brumbies: 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 Alaalatoa (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
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Nic Berry & James Quinn
TMO: Brett Cronan