‘Like the under 10s’: Wright’s Jonah Lomu moment sums up Brumbies’ power, but cards are a wake up call


The ACT Brumbies got the bonus point win they needed to keep their top two hopes alive against the Rebels but a challenging second half, where they conceded three yellow cards, gave them an unexpected and handy wake up call ahead of the finals.

The Brumbies overcame the concession of two tries while down to 13 men to finish strongly and secure their best-ever win over the Rebels of 53-17.

The Brumbies brushed the Rebels aside in the opening 40 minutes – literally in the case of Wallabies fullback in waiting Tom Wright, who delivered one superb moment of power.

Tom Wright of the Brumbies heads to the try line to score during the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium, on May 24, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

They went to the sheds leading 34-3, their internationals enjoying themselves at the expense of the Rebels, and anything looked possible. But ill discipline in the second period allowed the Rebels to cross twice before the game was put to bed with a late charge.

Wallabies Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Nick Frost and Len Ikitau were in excellent form in the first half and Wright, who had seven tries in his past nine games, added two more, the first showing his booming confidence.

For his first he picked up a loose ball inside the Rebels 10 metres, surveyed his options and then Jonah Lomued his way straight over Brad Wilkin.

So surprising was the ease by which he motored over the top of the Rebels flanker that Stan commentator Sean Maloney at first blamed Wilkin’s fellow ‘ranga’ Andrew Kellaway for the miss.

Kellaway is the other leading candidate to take on the No.15 shirt in the opening Tests against Wales in July and he had a night of ups and downs as the Brumbies smashed forward at will in the first half.

A loose Kellaway pass in the opening minutes gave the Brumbies a chance to equalise an early Rebels penalty and he made a dog’s breakfast of cleaning up a kick through.

He did partially redeem himself with a scrambling recovery to prevent a Toole try.

After the Hurricanes 20-17 win over the Chiefs earlier, which took them top of the table overnight, the Brumbies need back to back bonus point wins to have any chance of a top two finish.

They secured the bonus point inside the opening half, scoring three tries between the half hour mark and half time after Angus Gardner, breaking the record for appearances as a Super Rugby ref, lost patience with repeated Rebels infringements and sent Darby Lancaster to the bin.

Lancaster had barely got his bum on the naughty chair before Wright steamrollered Wilkin for the first of three tries that came with the Rebel off the field. Wright rubbed it in by giving Jordan Uelese a serve and a cheeky grin.

“The kid’s got confidence – it was like the under 10s the way he looked up and ran at the defence,” said Tim Horan in Stan Sport commentary.

Wright’s was the second try and while it was a moment of individual brilliance, the first showcased the Brumbies’ all round power – a series of offloads, of which Tamati Tua’s was the first and best – leading to Jahrome Brown crossing.

With Lancaster missing from the left edge Ikitau and Toole preyed on the space and got them in striking range. First Frost, and then Billy Pollard, helped themselves to five pointers.

Len Ikitau of the Brumbies. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Noah Lolesio was locked in and kicked all seven attempts before the break, where both coaches took the opportunity to rest some workhorses with finals footy on the horizon – certainly for the Brumbies while the Rebels still have top eight in their hands.

Wright burst out of the blocks for his second straight after halftime but the Brumbies lost Brown and Tua to the sin bin at the same time and Filipo Daugunu took advantage with a try against the 13 men.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.