Former Wallabies star Quade Cooper has produced a blistering Super Rugby debut for Melbourne Rebels, playing a starring role in the Rebels' 34-27 victory over the Brumbies.
In reigniting his halves partnership with former Queensland and Australian teammate Will Genia, Cooper didn't miss a beat after spending the entire 2019 season in Brisbane club rugby exile.
The Brumbies started the stronger against their Australian conference rivals at GIO Stadium on Friday night, but once the Rebels settled they were the more assured side.
After an attacking first-half which finished with the Brumbies leading 22-19, the Rebels clamped down on defence as hooker Anaru Rangi and winger Jack Maddocks crossed for tries after the break before Brumbies lock Sam Carter's consolation effort.
The Brumbies drew first blood through a try to hooker Folau Faingaa and Christian Lealiifano's penalty conversion.
But in a topsy-turvy first-half, the Rebels snapped the deficit as centre Tom English and Maddocks capitalised on some sloppy Brumbies defence.
The home crowd was fuming as Maddocks took advantage of an errant kick from Brumbies centre Irae Simone and ran into an open try-line.
The Brumbies' first round one loss at home since 2000 was made worse by John Eales medallist David Pocock lasting just five minutes after failing a concussion test.
Pocock copped a heavy early knock was replaced on the field by former Crusaders flanker Pete Samu, continuing his frustrating run with injury during the off-season.
Former Queensland Reds skipper James Slipper made a solid first appearance in Brumbies colours, playing 50 minutes before swapping with Wallabies prop Scott Sio.
Australian Associated Press