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Brumbies clinch Australian conference

Super Rugby

CANBERRA – The Brumbies clinched the Australian Super Rugby conference with a resounding 32-3 bonus-point victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Canberra on Saturday.

The Brumbies returned from their successful tour to South Africa and Argentina to outscore the hapless Rebels four tries to nil, with flyhalf Wharenui Hawera finishing with 17 points.

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Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera scored 17 points in the win over the Rebels on Saturday. Photo: EPA

The victory pushed the Brumbies out to a 14-point lead over their nearest conference rivals Waratahs, who lost their outside chance of topping the group in their 46-31 loss to the Chiefs in New Zealand earlier on Saturday.

The Brumbies, who beat the Southern Kings and Jaguares on their demanding away leg over the last two weeks, were always in control of the Australian derby after leading 11-3 at halftime.

“We’ve gained a lot of momentum coming back from touring, and we knew this was going to be a tough week, and we stuck in and got a good result,” Brumbies skipper Sam Carter said.

“We were clinical tonight, in parts of the game we weren’t too fancy, and we just put our heads down and got it done, accumulated pressure and got the points.”

The Brumbies scored their tries through Jordan Smiler, Tevita Kuridrani, Hawera and Nigel Ah Wong, with Hawera kicking three conversions and two penalties.

Super Rugby goes into a month’s recess in the international Test window, and the Brumbies’ next match is against the Reds in Brisbane on July 7, before finishing off their regular season against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Wallaby back Reece Hodge scored the Rebels’ only points of the match with a long-range penalty goal midway through the first half.

The end of the season can’t come quick enough for the Rebels, who have lost their last six matches and have been seriously distracted by the ongoing uncertainty over whether they will be playing in next season’s Super Rugby.

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