A late Sam Wood penalty goal has helped the Brumbies clinch a 25-22 thriller over the Rebels in Ballarat.
The Brumbies led by as many as 14 points early in the match before the Rebels began to peg back that margin, levelling scores up in the final stages.
With the game tied up in the dying minutes, it was Wood to stepped up to ensure the Brumbies stayed unbeaten in 2020 and moved to the top of the Super W ladder.
It was the Brumbies pack who again built the foundations for victory and co-captain Jane Garraway had plenty of praise for her forwards post-match.
“The Rebels girls really gave it to us, but it was a really tough game today,” she said to FOX SPORTS.
“Our forward pack is strong; they were dominant. It’s good to be a halfback behind a good forward pack.”
The Rebels were left heartbroken, just three points short of their first ever Super W win, but the result underlined their remarkable turnaround in 2020.
Last year’s corresponding clash was a 63-0 rout to the Brumbies women, a far cry from the tense affair of Saturday’s encounter.
Whilst disappointed not to secure their elusive first win, co-captain Melanie Kawa said the result buoyed their confidence.
“What we learnt today is what we are really good at, and that’s a big improvement on last week even, the result is coming, we just need to keep working on some small things and we will get there,” she said.
Kawa said it was the Brumbies’ better composure that eventually proved the difference.
“We believed in ourselves and it’s just a game of inches,” she said.
“It’s a credit to the Brumbies, they showed they are just a little bit more experienced, and with it locked up at 22-all with 15 minutes to go they were perhaps a little more level-headed.”
Last year’s Super W Player of the YearTayla Stanford made a statement in her return from an ACL injury.
Stanford played just 22 minutes in her first match since March last year but even in that limited time was able to make an impact.
In sunny conditions in country Victoria it was the Rebels who started the stronger of the two sides and after maintaining possession for the opening exchanges went ahead through a penalty goal in the sevnth minute.
Following a barnstorming run from Stanford, the Brumbies were able to hit back through Rebecca Smyth, who shrugged a few tackles and forced her way over the line.
Both sides tried to settle into a rhythm, and with the Brumbies hot on the attack, a Rebels penalty gave Wood a chance to stretch the ACT lead.
The game looked to be slipping away from the Rebels when Taeli Wilson ran a great line onto a delicate pass from Ella Ryan to go over untouched and make the score 17-3 after 28 minutes.
Much to the delight of the Ballarat locals, the Rebels were able to rally and began to build some attacking phases.
Second rower Nawal Remini wrestled her way over the line to cut the deficit to seven leading into half-time.
The Rebels continued their run of momentum after half-time, hitting the Brumbies’ line with waves of attack.
Kawa finally gave them reward for their patience with a 60th-minute try and the Georgia Cormick conversion levelled the scores up.
That stalemate didn’t last long, though, with veteran Brumbies frontrower Louise Burrows snatching back the lead.
Rebels centre Ash Walker returned serve, crashing over in the dying stages to give Melbourne a sniff of an historic moment.
An offside penalty in the 73rd minute, coolly converted by Brumbies fullback Wood ended the Rebels’ hopes of a maiden victory.
The Brumbies will look to continue their undefeated start to the season when they face the all-conquering Waratahs next Friday.
Still without a Super W win, The Rebels currently sit fifth on the ladder ahead of a round three clash with the Reds in Brisbane.
Tries: Remini, Kawa, Walker
Cons: Cormick 2
Tries: Smyth, Wilson, Burrows
Cons: Wood 2
Pens: Wood 2