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RugbyU: Brumbies make it two, downing Rebels

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The ACT Brumbies made it two from two with a bonus-point second round victory over the Melbourne Rebels, cementing their place at the top of the Australian Conference with an emphatic 30-13 win.

Jake White's Brumbies, dominant for much of the 2012 season, came back from a point down at half time to win Friday's match with 18 unanswered points including a try apiece to captain Ben Mowen and substitute Robbie Coleman.

The Rebels were rattled by injuries to star backs James O'Connor, who was benched with a concussion after a clash with Brumbies veteran Clyde Rathbone, and Kurtley Beale, who hurt his shoulder during a tackle.

O'Connor was instrumental in the Rebels' only try, setting up Scott Higginbotham in the 18th minute, popping up the ball after slipping through a tackle. Wallaby Higginbotham also went down with injury in the second half.

Coach Damien Hill said a "little bit of panic set in with the injuries" and poor decisions cost the side.

"We probably ran the ball a few times when we should have kicked for position," said Hill.

Rebels captain Gareth Delve said the team had conceded too much to the ascendant Brumbies, whose winning stocks have been boosted this year with the signing of star Wallabies openside flanker David Pocock.

"In the second half, we let them get a roll on and their ball retention was good, and they got in behind us and made us pay," said Delve.

Hooker Shota Horie was a bright spot for the home side, winning an enthusiastic roar from Rebels fans as he ran on for his season debut, becoming the first ever Japanese import to play for an Australian Super 15 club.

White paid tribute to the Brumbies' composure going into half time behind the home team.

"I was happy that we didn't panic, we just stuck to our processes and what we should have been doing," the Brumbies coach said.

"It gives us confidence moving forward, all these learning curves we put in our memory bank."

The undefeated Brumbies are shaping up as the team to beat in the Australian conference, with Friday's solid performance following a 24-6 win last weekend against the Queensland Reds.

It was sweet revenge for a loss at the end of last season to the Reds that cost them a place in the final six.

After two games the Brumbies sit atop the overall Super Rugby standings with nine points and a bye in round three.

ajc/mtp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130222/rugbyu-brumbies-make-it-two-downing-rebels