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Brumbies and Reds finally deliver hope for Australian rugby

The Melbourne Rebels’ 36-24 home loss to the Sharks meant it wasn’t a perfect weekend but it didn’t stop Australian teams tallying the best record (2-1) of any of the five participating nations.

McKellar hoped it would be the starting point for change in how the sport in Australia is regarded, both at home and from overseas, following several years of negativity on and off the field.

Lukhan Salakaia makes another charge for the Reds against the Sunwolves.

Lukhan Salakaia makes another charge for the Reds against the Sunwolves.Credit:AAP

“Over the last two years, I’ve spoken to the group about bucking the trends and creating some positivity so that people are talking about good things in rugby union and not the negative things,” he said.

“There’s so many people in our game who enjoy bagging our game.

“From a Brumbies point of view, we’re obviously very happy and we’re all moving forward now.”

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New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie would have appreciated the sight of a Brumbies pack physically dominating his former team, while young five-eighth Noah Lolesio provided more glimpses of his possible Test credentials.

Veteran James O’Connor shone in a far easier playmaker assignment for the Reds, putting teammates into gaps at will in the 10-try romp.

While the level of opposition was questionable, it didn’t stop Reds coach Brad Thorn from hailing the raw potential in his young side after three relatively close losses on the road.

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“In three to four years there’s going to be a pretty good team here you’d imagine,” Thorn said.

“I think they can be a very good team now.; I’ve said to the team ‘there’s a good team here, you’ve just got to realise that’.

“But I’m saying guys when they’re 25, 26, 27, 28 in their prime that’s pretty exciting too. I don’t know if I’ll be here to be a part of that but I’m enjoying being a part of that at the moment.”

There was little to enthuse over from Melbourne besides another barnstorming display from their Wallabies back-rower Isi Naisarani against a Sharks side who will be a handful for the Reds this week.

The Stormers are the only unbeaten team in the competition after holding out the Jaguares 17-7 in Cape Town while the travelling Blues pulled off a late 23-21 defeat of the Bulls.

The Crusaders beat the Highlanders 33-13 on Friday.

AAP

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