Brumbies on fire as Rebels' problems grow
THE Brumbies have won 10 straight games at home after dispatching the Melbourne Rebels in an Australian Super Rugby derby on Friday night.
In a dominant performance, the hosts triumphed 39-26 to take top spot in the Australia conference early in round two.
The Brumbies burst out of the blocks and scored four unanswered tries in the opening 28 minutes to leave the Rebels playing catch-up all night at Canberra Stadium.
The Rebels were on the back foot from the opening whistle with Brumbies centre Irae Simone scoring inside five minutes after selling a dummy 6m out.
The Brumbies had 85 per cent of possession in the opening 10 minutes before rookie flyhalf Noah Lolesio sent a sensational flick pass to Tom Banks, who nabbed the second five-pointer.
Next it was former NRL flyer Solomone Kata, who easily palmed off Reece Hodge and set up flanker Tom Cusack to cross untouched out wide.
The Brumbies made it two tries in two minutes when Pete Samu broke from the kick-off before Lolesio grubbered for Kata to score in the corner.
The Rebels finally got some ball on the cusp of half-time and mounted enough pressure for flanker Angus Cottrell to score and make it 24-7 at the break.
The visitors made a flying start to the second half and Cottrell had his second try inside two minutes after carrying three defenders over the line with an epic leg drive.
But the Australian conference favourites quickly hit back through a lineout trick play where skipper Allan Alaalatoa put Folau Faingaa over down the blindside.
Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi thought he'd matched his Brumbies counterpart from a rolling maul in the 57th minute, but the try was ruled out due to obstruction.
One minute later, fortunately for Rebels, ACT captain Dane Haylett-Petty threw a dummy from 45m out and scored a sensational solo try to make it 31-21 and give the visitors hope.
But Lolesio slotted a drop goal in the 65th minute to extend the buffer before Kata grubbered for Tom Wright to score the sealer in the 67th minute.
A late charge from the Rebels allowed halfback Frank Lomani to score an overlap try in the 78th minute to deny the Brumbies a bonus point.
Next up for the Brumbies are the Highlanders.
Coach Dan McKellar knows his men know they aren't world beaters, yet but backed them to improve again as they chase 11 straight home wins next Saturday.
"You review honestly," McKellar said when asked how to keep a lid on things.
"The boys are smart footballers, they understand there were some things to like about last week but we knew we could be a whole lot better and it will be exactly the same this week.
"We won't be getting too far ahead of ourselves. The Highlanders were beaten (on Friday) - the Sharks have done us no favours there.
"New Zealand teams are always quality, they lose players and replace them with players we've never heard of, they've got great athletes over there."
BRUMBIES 39 (Tom Banks, Thomas Cusack, Folau Fainga'a, Solomone Kata, Irae Simone, Tom Wright tries Noah Lolesio 3 cons drop goal) bt REBELS 26 (Angus Cottrell 2, Dane Haylett-Petty, Frank Lomani tries Lomani 2, Matt To'omua cons) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Nic Berry.
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