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Pocock impresses in Super Rugby trials

By AAP .
8 February 2014 11:43PM EST

DAVID Pocock impressed for the Brumbies in Super Rugby trial match action on Saturday with the Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds also recording wins.

THE Brumbies have recorded a 67-0 trial thrashing of an ACT XV in Canberra, with star Wallabies flanker David Pocock impressing in his first game on Australian soil in 11 months.

The Brumbies wasted no time taking charge of the Saturday night trial at Viking Park, with Japan international and inside centre Harumichi Tatekawi scoring the first of 11 tries from an attacking scrum in just the fourth minute.

Making the most of the strong start, the Brumbies took their try tally to four by the 21st minute through wingers Joe Tomane and Henry Speight, as well as prop Scott Sio.

Despite having his head stitched up in the first quarter, Pocock played a solid 40 minutes for the Brumbies, showing no signs of the knee injury that cruelled his 2013 season.

Backing up from last week's match against the Highlanders in New Zealand, Pocock finished the game with several of his trademark pilfers at the ruck, as well as the odd linebreak creating offload.

"There were a lot of cobwebs last week, so it was good to get a bit more rhythm in defence and attack," Pocock said.

"Every week coming back from such a long term injury you feel a bit fresher and the lungs aren't burning as much."

The ACT XV dug in during the middle section of the match, until reserve Brumbies hooker Siliva Siliva broke through in the 53rd minute to score the first of his three tries, opening the floodgates.

Reserve livewire fullback Robbie Coleman also impressed late with a classy double.

Backrow enforcer Fotu Auelua (knee) and Speight (bruised ribs) were the only injury concerns for the Brumbies.

The one-sided affair gives the Brumbies some much needed momentum ahead of their Super Rugby season opener against the Queensland Reds on February 22.

"You always want to take in a decent score when you're going in to a contest like we've got against the Reds," Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said.

"The reason we were able to score that many points was because our breakdown numbers were very good, and the skill that the guys had at wide were very good for this time of the year."

THE Melbourne Rebels held the Hurricanes scoreless for the last 34 minutes to register a tight 24-22 victory in their Super Rugby trial match at Simonds Stadium in Geelong on Saturday night.

Winger Lachlan Mitchell helped ensure the Rebels claimed victory with a bone-rattling tackle on Hurricanes centre Tim Bateman in the 79th minute, which forced a turnover.

The home side had gone ahead for the final time in the 72nd minute when Bryce Hegarty landed a long-range penalty goal.

The Rebels also got their first look at star New Zealand recruit Tamati Ellison, who did a couple of impressive things after entering the fray midway through the second half.

The former All Blacks centre had only arrived in Victoria a few days ago after completing his club commitments in Japan.

The Rebels opened the scoring with a second-minute penalty goal to impressive fullback Jason Woodward on a hot, still night.

But it was the visitors who had the best of the next 20 minutes, getting out to a 12-3 lead on the back of tries to fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder and flanker Ardie Savea.

Second-rower Hugh Pyle got the Rebels back into the contest in the 23rd minute, barging over from close range for their first try of the night.

Seven minutes later, Tom English also scored after Pyle had been heavily involved in the build-up.

The home side were able to take a narrow 18-15 lead into the interval after Woodward potted a long-range penalty goal after the halftime siren.

The Hurricanes snatched the lead back early in the second half with a converted try to centre Matt Proctor in the 46th minute, but that was to be their last score of the game.

The Rebels are now two-from-two in the pre-season, having beaten the Waratahs 33-28 last weekend in Albury.

THE Queensland Reds made an impressive start to their Super Rugby pre-season on Saturday night with a 31-20 win against reigning champions the Chiefs in Toowoomba.

The Reds came under heavy criticism when they crossed the tryline just 31 times in their 2013 Super Rugby campaign, ranking them 12th best in the competition.

But if their first-up trial form is anything to go by, scoring tries might come a little easier in 2014.

In front of a crowd of 7438, the Reds crossed for four tries against the champion Chiefs who are aiming for a third straight title this year.

Queensland spread the ball at every opportunity and looked sharp, particularly when Quade Cooper and Will Genia were together calling the shots.

Three of the Reds' tries came in the first half as they jumped out to a 24-8 halftime lead.

Waratahs recruit Lachie Turner had the Reds off to a flying start, crossing for his first four-pointer in Queensland colours after just two minutes.

Aiden Toua had put Turner into space and it was the Reds' fullback who again helped the Reds stretch their lead to 10-0 when he burst through the Chiefs' defence, kicked ahead and then forced a Chiefs turnover, ultimately leading to a Reds penalty.

The Chiefs took until the 15th minute to open their account when Ihaia West darted over from a scrum win.

Centre Mike Harris crossed for the Reds' second try on the stroke of quarter-time and prop Ben Daley added a third 10 minutes later. A sideline conversion by Cooper ensured the Reds stretched their lead to 24-8 at the break.

It was the Chiefs who made the better start to the second half, with All Blacks forward Sam Cane crossing for the Chiefs' second try in the 48th minute.

The Reds continued to spread the ball and Chris Feauai-Sautia scored six minutes later.

Some sustained pressure from the Chiefs, on the back of successive penalties, allowed them to go over for their third try in the 64th minute.

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