Round five of the Asteron Life Super Rugby competition has concluded with the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels and the Aquis Brumbies emerging victorious in their Australian derby clashes against the Western Force and St.George Queensland Reds respectively. The NSW Waratahs were beaten by a strong Highlanders outfit in Dunedin.
The Brumbies have now extended their lead on top of the Australian conference with the Waratahs and Rebels battling it out for second position. Click here to see the Australian Conference ladder.
RaboDirect Rebels 21 defeated the Western Force 17
The Rebels edged out the Western Force at nib Stadium in Perth in a tight Australian derby encounter. A late try to Force prop Tetera Faulkner was not enough for the home side to beat their Melbourne rivals despite dominating the stats with the Force having 61% possession and 121 phases to the Rebels’ 97.
In some good news for the Force, former Australian Under 20s representative, Luke Burton continues to impress in the West. Burton made 109 run metres and successfully converted his three opportunities at goal.
Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley was reflective on his side’s loss.
“We’re getting moments that are ‘good rugby’ and against a side [like the Rebels] that prides itself on its defence. They had a bye last week, they were fresh and I thought we finished over the top of them.
“But you’ve got to come into the game and fire from the start; you’ve got to win those early battles and we know that, but it’s where we fell down.
“Coming back after half-time we fought our way back into the game and basically controlled the game, but being able to be accurate and also aggressive up front is going to make a difference for us.”
Highlanders 26 defeated NSW Waratahs 19
The NSW Waratahs started and finished the match strongly but a lacklustre performance in the middle of the game ultimately cost the Tahs victory in Dunedin. Early tries to Nick Phipps and Matt Cararro took the Waratahs lead to 12-0 in the first quarter of the match.
The Highlanders who looked stumped at the set piece in the opening stages, rallied back through exceptional counter rucking and breakdown efficiency, which left the Waratahs frustrated and unable to execute their attacking game plan.
A late try to Stephen Hoiles after an Israel Folau break created hope for an unlikely miracle for Waratahs fans but it was not to be with NSW having to settle for the losing bonus point.
The towering Will Skelton was a standout in the Waratahs’ forward pack making 49 metres and 13 possessions.
Aquis Brumbies 29 defeated St.George Queensland Reds 0
An injured ravaged Queensland Reds were under pressure going into the match against the Australian conference leaders and despite the result showed signs of improvement from their Round One encounter with the Brumbies.
For the Brumbies it was another clinical display as they scored five tries to nil, with Qantas Wallabies prop Ben Alexander bagging a double.
Aquis Brumbies Head Coach, Stephen Larkham was satisfied with his side’s efforts.
“You’ve got to beat the teams from your conference to get through to the finals and we certainly put in enough to keep our rhythm together tonight against the Reds.
“We always enjoy winning up here. I’m particularly pleased with the bonus point and with keeping the Reds scoreless. That’s no tries for the Reds against us in 160 minutes of rugby in 2015.”
In round six of the Asteron Life Super Rugby Competition the Rebels will host South Africa’s Lions at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Friday 20 March. On Saturday 21 March the Force will take on the Bulls in Pretoria with the Waratahs hosting the Brumbies on Sunday 22 March at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.