Vodacom Super Rugby
Melbourne Rebels rout Tonga
Victoria - The Melbourne Rebels have run riot in their second ever match, beating Tonga 54-0 in a result that coach Rod Macqueen has said is good as the team continues to build, but it is a result that doesn't prove how competitive they will or won't be in their debut season.
According to the allblacks.com website
, the big win in Morwell at the Latrobe Valley in regional Victoria, saw the Rebels run in eight tries.
It was a performance that showed significant improvement after their first match at Olympic Park in Melbourne.
There was less handling mistakes, the forwards were more aggressive, and the backline again showed much promise.
Indeed, if there is a pattern emerging from the Rebels first two matches, it is that they are showing something of a league style blueprint.
They heavily rely on quick recycling, using forwards to hit it up in the early phases, before shifting the ball via their back division.
The game was done and dusted at halftime with the score at 35-0.
The forwards did the business and completely dominated the Tongan pack, which was a surprise considering that the Pacific Islanders had implemented something of a pragmatic game up front, perhaps working on their own strategies building towards the Rugby World Cup.
The biggest improvement though in the Rebels was their defensive patterns, showing impressive co-ordination, especially in the second half when the Tongans laid siege to the Melbourne based side's tryline.
Cooper Vuna was arguably the best player on park again, scoring two tries to take his tally to five in two matches.
Macqueen was happy with trying new patterns in the buildup to their regular season opener against the Waratahs.
"We were looking to try a few different things and a lot of them came off, so overall, we were happy with the performance," Macqueen said after the match.
"We're realistic (about the opposition) but it's not about winning and losing, it's about trialling things under pressure, and we certainly had pressure.
"We started to see a lot of the team structure, too, a lot of phases of play coming off. It will be a step up next week against Fiji, and then again against the Crusaders, but all in all I'd have to be happy with where we are, but keeping things in perspective.
"We are about to enter into one of the toughest competitions in world rugby. If we were playing like we are now, we wouldn't be successful, so we certainly have to improve."
Stirling Mortlock, Michael Lipman and Luke Rooney should be fit to make their Rebels debut next week against Fiji.
Tries: Weeks, Saffy, Davidson, Taumoepeau, Vuna (2), Phipps, Slade
Conversions: Cipriani (5), Hilgendorf (2)Tonga
Peter Betham, Rodney Blake, Adam Byrnes, Alister Campbell, Tom Chamberlain, Danny Cipriani, Sam Cordingley, Tim Davidson, Gareth Delve, JP du Plessis, Nic Henderson, James Hilgendorf, Luke Jones, Richard Kingi, Michael Lipman, Hoani Macdonald, Lachlan Mitchell, Kevin O'Neill, Nick Phipps, Hugh Pyle, Ged Robinson, Jarrod Saffy, Greg Somerville, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Heath Tessmann, Cooper Vuna, Laurie WeeksTonga:
Ofa Faingaanuku, Viliami Vatamaki Pola, Maleko Latu, Sila Puafisi, Antonio Halangahu, Johannsi Pataleone Vi, Taumei Hikila, Samisoni Masima, Josateki Veikune, Paula Kaho, Alfred Pinomi, Ofa Finau, Christopher Aho, Daniel Morath, Soane Havea, Thomas Palu, Vaea Poteki, Sione Piukala, Charles Mateo, Damien Fakafanua, Otulea Katoa, Viliami Hakalo, Soane Hupeto Sinisa, Ratu Maafu
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)
Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), Paul McKay (Australia)