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Cooper quality ensures Rebels see off brittle Brumbies

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The Melbourne Rebels won a comfortable Aussie derby against the Brumbies 27-34 at GIO Stadium, Canberra.

Jack Maddocks grabbed a brace, but it was Quade Cooper, who starred for the Rebels.

The standoff returned after a two-year absence on Australian soil and put in a masterclass. Cooper teamed up with his old mate Will Genia, and they made the old magic happen again.

The Brumbies had no spark, scoring all their tries through the forwards; two from driving mauls (when they didn’t butcher their own lineouts) and two from close range after Rebels mistakes.


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David Wessels’ chargers were electric at stages, led by Genia and Cooper, they played flat at the gain line and exploited the wide channels with long, skip passes and kicks behind the Brumbies back three.

The home team had no lucky answers and were fortunate the visitors butchered three scoring opportunities in the second half, alone.

Video Highlights: Brumbies versus Melbourne Rebels

The Brumbies race into a 10-point lead, early in the opening quarter.

Christian Lealiifano kicked an early penalty to put his side on the board.

Despite inspirational warrior David Pocock leaving the field, never to return, after failing another HIA, the Brumbies scored the first of their four tries.

Folau Fainga’a flopped over the whitewash after a powerful driving maul.

It was low, tight and hard, and the Rebels could not do anything to stop the home team. Lealiifano added the extras.

Rebels rebound to take the lead.

The visitors were shocked, however, they hit back immediately, thanks to some wonderful backline play and a skilful finish from Tom English.

The Rebels were at it again, this time fortune played a role in Maddocks’ first try.

In an attempt to clear his lines, Irae Simone fluffed an embarrassing kick inside his 22, which the Melbourne winger gathered with glee to walk over and tie the game.

Cooper missed his first, but not his second conversion.

The game was end to end but littered with errors, as the teams traded blows before the break.

Both teams were struggling with restarts, and another lost kickoff set up the home team for their second score.

Several phases of battering the Rebels’ line, Rory Arnold, in the vein of NFL running back Saquon Barkley, the lock leapt over the pile of bodies in front of him for the try.

Just as the hosts seemed to regather momentum, they lost it.

On 33 minutes Matt Phillip’s angled run, on the soft arm of Arnold, saw him crash over from close range.

There are lots of errors, but the points are piling up.

It was the turn of big man Allan Ala’alatoa – named after the great Aussie cricket captain Allan Border, to get in on the act.

Yet again, another try from close range, as the prop burrowed his way over.

Lealiifano’s conversion made it 22-19 at the break.

Rebels take control after the interval, squeezing the life from the Canberra side.

It was all Melbourne in the second stanza. They dominated possession and territory.

At one point the visitors had more than 70% of the ball and spent a staggering 80% of the time in the opposition’s half.

Billy Meakes burst through two tackles but was halted. Maddocks, who thought he had a second from Genia’s long, floated pass, saw his score chalked off.

Then, eventually, the Brumbies broke. The Rebels were mounting an attack, near the try line when Rangi bulldozed his way through three (I know) halfbacks.

The hooker, like a steam train, ran an angle that could not be stopped in rugby, and he ran it at pace from a running start of 10 metres.

He also ran straight at scrum-half Joe Powell, and the two standoffs, Lealiifano and Wharenui Hawera.

All three stood no chance.

Cooper’s conversion took his side four ahead, and they never looked back.

Tevita Kuridrani’s last gasp ankle-tap stopped English from getting his second.

The Brumbies lineout was malfunctioning to the tune of three lost throws. This allowed the Rebels to get out of some sticky situations, as well as putting them into some good ones.

A botched lineout on the Melbourne 5m was turned into three points after a long-range Cooper penalty.

The flyhalf missed an attempt a couple of minutes later, but Maddocks sealed the deal with a sublime catch and score from Meakes’ cross-kick.

The flyer’s catch would not have been out of place at the Adelaide Oval. The try came from another wobbly Genia box-kick, which bamboozled Powell.

Sam Carter scored at the death, but this derby was wrapped up long before.

Final score: Brumbies 27 (22) Rebels 34 (19)

Scorers

Brumbies
Tries – Fainga’a, Arnold, Ala’alatoa, Carter
Pen – Lealiifano
Con – Lealiifano (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Melbourne Rebels
Tries – English, Maddocks (2), Philip, Rangi
Pen – Cooper
Con – Cooper (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2: Damon Murphy
TMO: James Leckie

Teams

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Ala’alatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.

Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Peter Samu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Andy Muirhead.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Semisi Tupou.

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  1. Pingback: Genia inspires Rebels fightback to beat Brumbies - Super Rugby | Super 15 Rugby and Rugby Championship News,Results and Fixtures from Super XV Rugby

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