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Brumbies trample lowly Rebels to book home quarter

By AAP
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 02: Nic White of the Brumbies takes his place on the bench after leaving the field during the round 15 Super Rugby Pacific match between the ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium, on June 02, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The ACT Brumbies will play a home Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final while the Melbourne Rebels’ season is over, after the Canberra side ended the regular season with a 33-17 win.

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Three successive tries after falling behind 10-7 in the first half allowed the hosts to take control of the fixture at Canberra Stadium and consign the Rebels to a lowly 11th-placed finish.

The fourth-placed Brumbies will host the Hurricanes next Saturday night, and they will need to find another gear if they’re to keep their season alive.

They leant on their forwards to snuff out the Rebels’ hopes, conceding just 17 points in what was their equal-best defensive display of the season to date.

Trailing by three points with half-an-hour gone, a yellow card for Melbourne centre Reece Hodge, for repeated fouling, provided the break the Brumbies needed.

They quickly powered over through hooker Connal McInerney before fullback Tom Wright and centre Ollie Sapsford scored early in th e second half to put the game to bed.

Melbourne starlet Carter Gordon had earlier sliced through the Brumbies line to give the Rebels the lead but a mixed bag saw his loose pass to Joe Pincus returned 80 metres in a quick fashion for Wright’s try.

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ACT winger Corey Toole had opened the scoring and again pushed his Wallabies case with his trademark power and speed getting him over the line, a delightful cut-out ball from Jack Debreczeni helping him through.

The Brumbies again struggled to retain possession from their own lineout, a common theme throughout the season that they are still looking to fix up heading into finals.

Brumbies lock Nick Frost appeared to hyper-extend his knee early in the second half under tackling pressure but remarkably played out the game despite hobbling at times.

It would have provided a scare for Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who has Frost in his Rugby World Cup plans after picking him in for the national side’s recent training camp.

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Melbourne hooker Jordan Uelese copped a horrific accidental knee from ACT’s Cadeyrn Neville and was taken from the field via medicab in the first half.

Uelese lay motionless while receiving attention for a number of minutes before standing up and being carted off.

The Rebels end the campaign with an unimpressive 4-10 record, and will need to find a replacement for departing stalwart Hodge who is heading to French rugby.

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