Brumbies hold off desperate Rebels in Super Rugby W

March 22, 2024 9:58 pm


The Rebels played some brilliant rugby to lead 17-10 in the second half, and a second victory in 26 games since the competition’s 2018 inception beckoned.

But the hosts edged ahead through hooker Tania Naden’s try in the 61st minute, then held on to move to 1-1 this season.

The Rebels turned down a tough penalty kick that would have given them the lead inside the final minute, instead kicking for touch inside the Brumbies’ 22.

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But they turned the ball over immediately, the Rebels’ maul collapsing and then the Brumbies’ scrum holding firm as the siren sounded to seal the win.

“It’s a great feeling, but that game was really hard,” Brumbies captain Siokapesi Palu said.

“They’re physical and we knew they’d come out fighting, but we were our worst enemies out there with penalties and at the set piece.”

They also lost exciting halfback Jasmin Huriwai to a knee injury in the first half.

“We hope that it’s not too bad, but we miss that intensity and energy,” Palu said.

Rebels captain Ashley Marsters lamented one that got away.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” she said.

“We took a gamble at the end there (not taking the kick at goal), and you win some, you lose some.”

Brumbies five-eighth Faitala Moleka scored the first try, and hooker Naden took off from behind the maul to add another for the hosts before halftime.

But on each occasion the Rebels had an immediate response.

Flanker Melanie Kawa edged over, then Jayme Nuku went down the short side to level the scores 10-10 just shy of halftime.

The Rebels’ hooker Nuku was over again to begin the second half and create a surprise seven-point buffer.

Palu barged over for the Brumbies to again level the scores.

However, the Rebels flicked into top gear, Wallabies recruit Grace Hamilton charging back from a drop-out, then winger Samantha Treherne flicking a ball to fullback Crystal Mayes to score just as she was tumbling into touch.

Naden then crossed for her second try, the Brumbies ramming the Rebels’ line until it eventually cracked.

The successful conversion gave them a two-point lead that they clung to for the final 17 minutes.