The final score is Brumbies 27 (22) Melbourne Rebels 34 (19)
Quade Cooper delivered a superb performance in his debut for the Rebels as they notched a 34-27 victory over the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.
In a topsy-turvy match in Canberra, the Brumbies had the better of the opening exchanges but the visitors came back strongly as the game progressed and were deserved winners in the end.
Cooper, who last played at this level in 2017, showed great composure throughout and shone as his side’s chief playmaker. His distribution skills were excellent and he also impressed by taking the ball to the line several times.
The Wallaby fly-half varied his play intelligently, did not try to overplay his hand and also combined brilliantly with his scrum-half, Will Genia, who also had a good game.
The Rebels’ forwards also deserve praise as they stood up well in the battle up front against their heavier counterparts and set up a solid platform for their half-backs.
In the end, the Rebels outscored the Brumbies by five tries to four with Jack Maddocks leading the way for the visitors with a brace. Their other points came via tries from Tom English, Matt Philip and Anaru Rangi and three conversions and a penalty from Cooper.
Folau Fainga’a, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalato and Sam Carter dotted down for the Brumbies and Christian Lealiifano added a penalty and two conversions.
Tries – Fainga’a, Arnold, Ala’alatoa, Carter
Pen – Lealiifano
Con – Lealiifano (2)
Tries – English, Maddocks (2), Philip, Rangi
Pen – Cooper
Con – Cooper (3)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2: Damon Murphy
TMO: James Leckie
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Ala’alatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Peter Samu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Semisi Tupou.