Melbourne Rebels' woes continue with humiliating 30-3 defeat to ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby Pacific

Melbourne Rebels' woes continue with humiliating 30-3 defeat to ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby Pacific

By abc.net.au
Saturday 24/02/2024
The Rebels opened the season with a convincing defeat to the Brumbies in Melbourne.(Getty Images: Daniel Pockett)

The Melbourne Rebels' off-field troubles have been reflected in their opening Super Rugby Pacific performance against the ACT Brumbies, with the cash-strapped club crashing to a 30-3 loss.

With the Rebels in administration and their future in the competition looking increasingly grim, they had hoped to put the drama aside in their first home match of the season in Melbourne on Friday night.

But a small crowd was left disappointed, with the Brumbies cruising to a convincing bonus-point victory.

Charlie Cale and Corey Toole both scored doubles for the Brumbies, with Noah Lolesio adding two conversions and as many penalty goals.

The Rebels' only points came via a penalty goal to Carter Gordon.

"It wasn't our night, we just didn't finish anything off tonight," Rebels coach Kevin Foote said.

"We went into their '22' 13 times for zero outcomes, so we're disappointed in our completion rate there. Very disappointed."

Foote refused to blame the Rebels' potential demise as a distraction heading into the match, saying the players had prepared as well as possible.

"They're probably feeling they want to do something special, but they don't have to do that, they just need to trust the system," he said.

The Rebels had plenty of possession in the first half but let themselves down with loose play and errors, while their highly rated forward pack failed to fire.

They struggled to give the Rebels' halves Gordon and England international Jack Maunder front-foot ball, and lost three of their line-out throws and a further two in the second half.

The Brumbies' future in Super Rugby Pacific has also been the subject of media speculation.

News Corp mastheads have reported the Canberra-based franchise may be culled if Rugby Australia opts to reduce the number of its teams in the competition after this season due to its fragile financial situation.

Ignoring the speculation, Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham was pleased with the performance against the Rebels, given it was the opening round.

"The boys have been training well for a long time now and we had a good combination out on the field, so we were expecting to do well, but you never really know," Larkham said

"We got a lot of things right tonight. It's a good start."

Meanwhile, the Western Force recorded a heavy loss against the Wellington-based Hurricanes in Perth, going down 44-14.

Story By: AAP/ABC

Original Story link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-24/super-rugby-pacific-melbourne-rebels-act-brumbies/103507300

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