Clyde Rathbone of the Brumbies is tackled by James O'Connor
of the Rebels during their match at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
The Brumbies added the Melbourne Rebels' scalp to their
growing collection with a clinical 30-13 win in their Super
Rugby clash at AAMI Park.
After accounting for Queensland in the opening round, the
Brumbies delivered an emphatic second-half performance to
stamp themselves as the Australian conference heavyweights.
The Rebels led 13-12 at halftime but they were starved of
ball in the second stanza and injuries to their attacking
maestros James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale cruelled their
chances as the Brumbies piled on 18 unanswered points.
O'Connor was steamrolled by veteran Brumbies winger Clyde
Rathbone while making a try-saving tackle and left the field
to be checked for concussion.
He looked set to return at the 55-minute mark but was
frustratingly over-ruled by the team doctor, who benched him
for the remainder of the game.
Around the same time Beale hurt his left shoulder while
making a tackle and while he played on until the final five
minutes he clearly struggled.
Those two players fired in the first half as the home side
matched the Brumbies across the park.
O'Connor set up the Rebels only try, scored by their new
recruit Scott Higginbotham in the 18th minute, while
Wallabies five-eighth Beale was a constant danger.
Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg was just as dynamic for his
team, scoring a try and setting up another in the first half.
Mogg, the two-try hero from the Brumbies win over the Reds,
was first on the scoreboard in the fourth minute after Beale
turned over the ball when he was crunched midfield.
The fullback showed scintillating speed when he ran on to a
Rathbone pass and then he burnt both O'Connor and Nick Phipps
to the ball that he had kicked into the in-goal.
Mogg also set up their second try, scored by Rathbone, who
has returned to Super Rugby after four years on the sidelines
with a midfield break.
The Brumbies were quick to close their one-point halftime
deficit, through a penalty strike by Christian Lealiifano and
the momentum of the match quickly swung their way.
As the home side's injury toll mounted the Brumbies grew in
After skipper Ben Mowen showed his pace to scoop up a loose
ball and charge to the line, they grabbed their bonus point
with a fourth try in the 74th minute, scored by replacement
back Robbie Coleman.
Beale was due to have scans on his shoulder with Rebels coach
Damien Hill unwilling to speculate on the seriousness of his
He said O'Connor had already recovered from his head knock
better than hoped.
Hill was delighted by his team's first half performance but
said they lost composure when things didn't go their way
later in the game.
"In the first half we stuck to the game plan and played with
"The breakdown was good, the set-piece was good, defence was
great ... we were in the game.
"The second half we seemed to go away from that a little bit
and a little bit of panic set in, around those injuries I
"Against a team like the Brumbies, it's going to result in
what you saw tonight."
Brumbies coach Jake White said his side showed great
composure, led by skipper Ben Mowen and new recruit David
He said the calibre of players that the Rebels lost to injury
made it difficult for them to remain competitive.
Mowen felt his side was out-enthused early on.
"We needed to flick that switch mentally," he said.
"The second half was much better."
Beale said post-match that while the joint was very sore he
was confident of making a quick recovery.
He said the shoulder dislocated and then popped straight back
in - an injury he had suffered twice previously without
missing any game time.
He will go for precautionary scans with the Rebels sweating
on the results ahead of a clash with Beale's old side the
Waratahs in Sydney next Friday night.