Brumbies beat Rebels 36-17 to go four wins straight

featured, Rugby, Rugby Union

Wallabies fullback Tom Banks stepped up in the face of his latest challenge with a man of the match performance as the Brumbies extended their winning record to four games while consigning the Melbourne Rebels to a fourth straight defeat on Friday.

Banks, who suffered a broken arm against South Africa last season, has been in blistering form on return this season and was irrepressible again in a comfortable 36-17 win,.

Earlier this week Queensland Reds – the next assignment for the Brumbies – named Jordan Petaia at No.15 for their clash this weekend. Petaia is seen as a Wallabies fullback candidate for the long term but Banks has laid down another marker to show he won’t give up the jersey without a massive fight.

Banks scored one and his Wallabies back three teammate Tom Wright went over for two as the Brumbies were good value for their win.

Asked what impressed him most about the win, Banks said: “Probably our desire. We knew after last week the Rebels would come out firing and they didn’t. They don’t go away and we found that out early.

“They put us under a lot of pressure. At time they didn’t put the points on the board and we soaked up that pressure. It was a tough grind win.”

Tom Banks of the Brumbies runs with the ball during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between the Melbourne Rebels and the ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park on March 11, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Tom Banks of the Brumbies runs with the ball during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between the Melbourne Rebels and the ACT Brumbies. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Banks has looked sharper than ever this season and paid credit to the staff at the Brumbies.

“We’ve got an exceptional speed coach,” he said.

Former Wallabies player Morgan Turinui, speaking on Stan Sport, was full of praise for Banks’ form.

“He looks like he’s quicker, he looks like he’s really taking any space that’s being offered to him,. His combination with Tom Wright on the wing and the way he comes into the line, everything he’s doing at the moment is making the right choices.

Even last night in the wet weather , we didn’t see a lot of his running game but we saw his kicking game and good choices. He’s a superior Super Rugby player and I think Australian fans can’t wait to see him translate it into Test footy.”

NSW Waratahs’ Welsh veteran Jamie Roberts, speaking on Stan, called Banks a “proper punchy ball runner. He can get past that first tackle, not just with footwork but with his power well.”

The Brumbies scored six tries to two and four of those came before the Rebels first.

Melbourne remain winless – the loss their ninth in succession dating back to last season – in an alarming form slump.

Newly re-signed Wallabies winger Andrew Kellaway, who had an off-season foot injury, made his first appearance but he was given few opportunities in their disjointed attack.

The Rebels had plenty of ball and territory early in the first half but too often were let down by poor execution.

The Brumbies, meanwhile, made the most of their chances with flanker Rob Valetini running on to a ball from Allan Alaalatoa and then beating two men and dragging another two across the line for his third try of the season.

The score was 12-0 after 26 minutes when centre Len Ikitau benefited from some good lead-up work by Jesse Mogg and Banks, and flimsy Rebels defence.

The home side wasn’t helped when they lost Glen Vaihu to a yellow card after the young winger took out the legs of a leaping Banks.

While he was off Wright scored the first of his two tries, coming off a floating Nic White pass with the Brumbies taking a 17-3 lead into halftime.

That blew out by another five points at the 42 minute mark after Banks made a long-range break and then kicked ahead with the ball bouncing away from Matt Toomua, with Wright pouncing on his second.

Flanker Jahrome Brown was another to find easy passage to the line.

The Rebels delivered their best try of the season in the 62nd minute, with fleet-footed centre Ray Nu’u sparking the attack before reserve flanker Richard Hardwick found the tryline.

But the Brumbies had the last say, with in-form Banks charging on to a perfectly timed pass from James Slipper and charging ahead to score their sixth of the night.

It has been a tough month for the Rebels, whose captain Michael Wells has fronted up four games in a row now trying to explain their inability to make an impact.

“I think we’re a bit clearer where we went wrong this time – we’re not executing in the 22,” Wells said. “Oh and four is what it is but there were probably better signs this week.

“With the results people always think there’s a ;lack of effort but no one puts their body on the line for 80 minutes to half arse it. If we were questioning guys, they wouldn’t be part of this program or part of this culture – there’s never any doubt the guys are working harder.”

There are lingering question as to how the Rebels are using Matt Toomua. The veteran started at No.10 again but was more effective when youngster Carter Gordon came into the flyhalf role pushing Toomua into No.12, where Wallabies coach Dave Rennie believes he’s best suited.

“It’s an interesting one isn’t it – club vs country,” said former All Blacks flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens on Stan.

“Ultimately the Rebels have to do what’s best for them, all due respect to Dave Renie, and I think Matt Toomusa is the right sort of fit at 10.

“I would like to see maybe Reece Hodge in the midfield or Andrew Kellaway in the midfield. It just brings a maybe a bit more grunt in a confidence sense.”

Roberts agreed; “This Melbourne backline, they need to tinker a bit. They need to get Reece Hodge on the ball more because he’s one of their best players and best attacking weapons. He doesn’t see the ball enough.”

Turinui said Toomua should be at 12 with Gordon at 10.

“It’s very simple for me,” he said. “Matt Toomua is clear in his role at 12 – vhe is destructive with or without the ball. He can play really physically. All the evidence I’m seeing on the field suggests they should stick with Carter Gordon.”

(With AAP)

Leave a Reply