Brumbies book play-off spot
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Brumbies have qualified for this year's Super Rugby play-offs after a 32-3 bonus-point win over the Melbourne Rebels in Canberra on Saturday.
The Brumbies returned from their successful tour to South Africa and Argentina to outscore the hapless Rebels four tries to nil with flyhalf Wharenui Hawera finishing with 17 points.
The victory pushed the Brumbies out to a 14-point lead over their nearest conference rivals Waratahs, who lost their outside chance of topping the group in their 31-46 loss to the Chiefs in New Zealand earlier Saturday.
The Brumbies, who beat the Southern Kings and Jaguares on their demanding away leg over the last two weeks, were always in control of the Australian derby after leading 11-3 at half-time.
"We've gained a lot of momentum coming back from touring and we knew this was going to be a tough week and we stuck in and got a good result," Brumbies' skipper Sam Carter said.
"We were clinical tonight, in parts of the game we weren't too fancy and we just put our heads down and got it done, accumulated pressure and got the points."
The Brumbies scored their tries through Jordan Smiler, Tevita Kuridrani, Wharenui Hawera and Nigel Ah Wong with Hawera kicking three conversions and two penalties.
Super Rugby goes into a month's recess in the international Test window and the Brumbies have their next match against the Reds in Brisbane on July 7 before finishing off their regular season against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Wallaby back Reece Hodge scored the Rebels' only points of the match with a long-range penalty goal midway through the first half.
The end of the season can't come quick enough for the Rebels, who have lost their last six matches and have been seriously distracted by the ongoing uncertainty over whether they will be playing in next season's Super Rugby.
Man of the match: Flyhalf Wharenui Hawera and flank Chris Alcock both played a big part in their side's win and they share this award.
Tries: Smiler, Kuridrani, Hawera, Ah Wong
Cons: Hawera 3
Pens: Hawera 2
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leulua'Iali'I-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Muirhead, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Hugh Sinclair, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Will Miller, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Jonah Placid.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)