The Melbourne Rebels have rounded off preparations for the Super Rugby season by thrashing Samoa A 85-0 in a trial match at AAMI Park.
After fielding an inexperienced squad in their first trial match, an away loss to the Blues, a stronger Rebels line-up combined well on Thursday night to punish Samoa A in the final hitout ahead of their 2016 campaign.
The home side dominated the match from the outset and scored 13 tries, an early penalty miss from Lester Sefo the lone point-scoring opportunity for the visitors.
Winger Reece Hodge scored two tries in the opening half for his new side as the Rebels went ahead 38-0 at the main break. Replacement winger Tom English also crossed twice after halftime.
The Samoan side lived up to their reputation for aggressive and physical rugby, with plenty of heavy contact in the forwards, but could not withstand the attacking intent of the Rebels’ backline.
Melbourne’s advantage out wide was evident from the opening minute as Hodge finished off a polished backline move following an early lineout in the Samoan half.
Former All Black Adam Thompson, making his first appearance in Rebels colours, sparked a counter attack from the Rebels’ own half, ending with halfback Ben Meehan racing in under the posts.
Captain Sean McMahon set up the Rebels’ third try, regaining possession after charging down an attempted clearing kick for Jack Debreczeni to cross out wide on the next phase.
The Rebels’ forwards combined for two more tries before Hodge finished off the half with his second five-pointer, running a fine angle off Debreczeni to score untouched.
Second-half tries to Tamati Ellison, Jonah Placid, Mick Snowden and Dom Shipperley blew out the scoreline.
The Rebels will open their Super Rugby campaign on Saturday week when they travel to Perth to play the Western Force.