The Melbourne Rebels battered the beleaguered Brumbies 30-12 in Round Six of Super Rugby AU at a drenched Leichhardt Oval, Sydney.
Reece Hodge grabbed a first-half brace as the Rebels routed the Super Rugby AU table-toppers with a dominant and impressive performance in the pouring rain and avenged their round one defeat.
The chastening defeat is the first of the campaign for the Brumbies, who have now lost five of their previous seven Super Rugby matches against the capital team.
Matt To’omua, captaining the Rebels on the night from the inside centre, kicked 10 points from the tee and had an assist when he created Hodge’s second try.
Brad Wilkin, Jordan Uelese also crossed as the Rebels rampaged to a 27-7 lead at the interval.
Joe Powell pulled a try back for the beleaguered Brumbies but Dan McKellar’s men had no answers to the power and precision of their opponents.
Tom Cusack saw yellow as the hooter sounded but his sin-binning did not, somehow, cost his team any points.
To’omua added a penalty 13 minutes after the restart to bring up 30 points as his side controlled proceedings.
A messy and forgettable second half saw the Rebels defend their advantage and ground out the result.
They will not care a jot, however, as they move into second on the Super Rugby AU log.
Will Miller scored his side’s second try after at the death, but the Brumbies go into their bye week with a lot to think about.
Rebels handle the wet conditions better than the Brumbies as they get off to a flyer in the rain.
The game was played in a torrential downpour, which made handling tricky as the players struggled to control the ball as well as their footing on a very slippery surface.
Both teams kicked a lot out of hand using a mixture of bombs and kicks in behind the back threes as they searched for territory.
The surface, however, has a thick covering of grass that did not break up so the ball was not hampered with the grit from mud, which made handling easier than usual for the players.
The Rebels struck early after a mistake from the Brumbies led to a 50-22 to Melbourne.
The Rebels won their lineout and went to the driving maul before stretching the Brumbies left to right to Hodge, who used the greasy surface to beat the cover defenders and slide in after three minutes.
Irae Simone’s kick deflected to Marika Koroibete. The big winger hacked the ball a couple of times as he outran the chasing defenders to the goal-line.
The ball slowed before the line, but Koroibete won the loose ball and played the supporting Wilkin to double the lead.
To’omua made it 12-0 from next to the poles.
The Brumbies hit back immediately.
Powell slid over in the corner after another driving maul by the Brumbies. The scrumhalf used the crowbar to take the ball off Folau Fainga’a and dived over for his team’s first points.
Kuenzle slotted the touchline conversion.
The floodgates open as Hodge gets a double and Uelese adds a fourth before the break.
But Dave Wessels’ men continued their dominance, though.
A mistake between Allan Alaalatoa and Fainga’a led to a midfield scrum outside the Brumbies’ 22.
To’omua put in a little grubber behind the defence and Hodge beat Tom Banks to the rolling ball to score his second of the evening.
The Melbourne stand-off missed the conversion but he did add a 32nd-minute penalty to put his team 20-7 up.
Uelese crashed over from close range with less than three minutes before halftime after Isi Naisarani’s quick-tap penalty caught the Brumbies off guard.
The stand-in skipper’s second conversion increased the lead to 20 points as the Melbourne racked up their most points in a half of Super Rugby away from Victoria.
The Victorians kept coming. It could have had another score but for Cameron Orr being held-up and Naisarani knocking on at the base of the scrum following Cusack’s yellow card on the stroke of halftime.
A combination of good defending and bad handling saw the contest descend into an arm wrestle.
The game broke down in the second stanza in an error-strewn half from the teams.
It seemed strange because the first half was helter-skelter in the rain, but when the rain stopped, the mistakes came thick and fast as the sides slugged out a forgettable second half.
Andy Muirhead kicked out on the full, but nothing came of the Rebels attack inside the opposition’s 22, and Henry speight could not control the ball after another promising attack inside the 22.
Melbourne’s tactics were to kick behind the Brumbies’ back three and pin the ACT side inside their half.
The captain landed his second penalty on 53 minutes after his forwards won a penalty from a driving maul to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Melbourne sat on their commanding lead and looked happy to defend it despite the Brumbies efforts late on.
The errors mounted and the game fell apart. Mistakes were many, tries few, and the Brumbies seemed to have given up.
Knock-ons, dropped kicks, misplaced passes and balls thrown into touch ruined what had been an entertaining match.
Miller scored a try before the siren sounded but it was scant consolation.
Final Score: Rebels 30 (27) Brumbies 12 (7)
Tries – Hodge (2), Wilkin, Uelese
Pen – To’omua (2)
Con – To’omua (2)
Tries – Powell, Miller
Con – Kuenzle
Cards – Cusack (Yellow, 40′)
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt To’omua (captain), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr
Replacements: 16 Efitusi Ma’afu, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Pone Fa’amaluli, 19 Michael Stolberg, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Rob Leota, 22 James Tuttle, 23 Billy Meakes
15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Will Miller, 20 Ben Hyne, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Len Ikitau