Matt Phillip is outstanding once again for another week on the second row at No.4 for the Rebels. He’s such a great communicator alongside a brilliant eye, especially when backing up at all times as a support player. And he has no problem smashing the Drua into pieces where he opened the account with the Rebels TRY, not just through the line-out, maul, phases, and execution in the attack but also in defense. They’re thankful to bring Phillip back from Pau in France following the end of last year, with more unfinished business to unpack in the next coming weeks.
Next up is another Rebel in Brad Wilkin at No.6 on the blindside flanker position, who was flawless throughout the full 80 last night. He possesses so much tackle with the physicality that threw the pressure back on the other opposition end. Not only did Wilkin help his Rebels side push through the TRY line for a couple of big scores, but he read the Drua’s messy passage of play with their lack of support before he came in to halt this process defensively. He’s been there for four years now, as his Super Rugby experience will hopefully guide the Rebels towards more wins this season.
And Kitione Salawa Jr. played a big part in Fijian Drua’s late turnaround in the 2nd 40 from the bench on the openside role, replacing Vilive Miramira. He’s proven to be the real deal in their attack where he looked so mobile with the pace & tall reach, thanks to the winning penalties and teamwork handed over to him on display. His opening TRY for the Drua caught up some lost time & was there for all of it when Salawa both smashed through the Rebels’ defense & act as their support runner. If he started and did that all game, then he would’ve been the man of the match & most likely upset the Rebels. However, the team’s poor first 40 and some messy play with the passage of passing let him down.