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Brumbies snatch victory over Rebels in Super W thriller

By AAP
Jay Huriwai of the Brumbies kicks ahead during the Super W match between ACT Brumbies Women and Melbourne Rebels Women at GIO Stadium, on April 14, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The Brumbies have their first win of the Super W season and could yet play finals after sneaking by Melbourne Rebels in a thriller at GIO Stadium.

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The hosts (1-4) moved inside the top four with Friday night’s 30-23 win ahead of a crunch encounter with the Western Force in Perth next weekend which will likely determine their fate.

The Brumbies scored the first three tries of the contest and looked poised for an easy win but had to lift to see off a strong Rebels fightback, going behind early in the second half and not hitting the front again until a 76th-minute penalty from Faitala Moleka.

Winger Biola Dawa sealed the win minutes later, capping a drive that started with her own brilliant intercept by getting the ball back and crossing in the corner.

Bench halfback Jay Huriwai had pulled the Brumbies back to 23-22 down with a try, bouncing off a number of Rebel players and crashing over from close range, but a missed conversion left them still needing to go a nd win the game.

Brumbies captain Siokapesi Palu said winning in front of their home crowd was a special moment for the side.

“It’s very exciting … we’re all cheering and what better moment to actually win a home game,” she told Stan Sport.

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“We know the Rebels do come out with a game and they’re very physical and they’re quite quick off the mark, and so we just had to make sure we matched that.”

Hooker Tania Naden struck first from a rolling maul while Lydia Kavoa scored in the same corner on 12 minutes after picking off a Rebels’ lineout throw.

Brumbies winger Apryll Green capped a sweeping team move for their third try in between a pair of penalty goals from Rebels kicker Mia Rae Clifford, although the Rebels pinched one back on the stroke of halftime via Utumalefata To’omalatai.

Winless Melbourne hit the front on 47 minutes via a stunning 40m break from Faalua Tugaga, slicing through the Brumbies’ defence to cap her side’s momentum.

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To’ omalatai led the way for the Rebels with bustling car ries up the middle of the park, while No.8 Grace Kemp did much the same for the Brumbies, keeping them rolling forward when all looked lost in the second half.

Clifford was also vital for the Rebels, slotting three long-range penalty goals that kept her side in the game.

“Great game out there, both sides are super physical,” Rebels captain Ashley Marsters told Stan Sport.

“It was very close throughout the whole game, so credit to the Brumbies, they really came back with the fight.

“We really wanted to give it to them but obviously we fell out towards the end there.”

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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