Noah steers Brumbies' ship in Super start

Murray Wenzel
Brumbies youngster Noah Lolesio has been the form Australian playmaker in Super Rugby

Aided by an in-form pack and feeding off the Brumbies' home ground Super Rugby start, Noah Lolesio has become the early pacesetter as new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie assesses his playmaker stocks.

The 20-year-old five eighth, a key figure in the Junior Wallabies' march to last year's World Cup final, has impressed with his skills and cool head as the Brumbies (2-0) became the only Australian team to win during the first two rounds.

An audacious Lolesio flick pass and quick-thinking grubber kick led to first-half tries while a second-half drop goal eased the tension as the Brumbies cruised by Melbourne Rebels 39-26 on Friday night.

"As I've said many times, he's the sort of kid that just doesn't get flustered," coach Dan McKellar said.

"Look at the talent that he's showed there.

"For a guy in his second game, to be confident and comfortable to throw that (flick) pass, it says a lot about where Noah's at as a kid and as a footballer."

In contrast veteran Matt Toomua, the man touted as most likely to get first crack at five-eighth for Rennie's Wallabies later this year, has barely fired a shot in the Rebels' slow start to the season.

Despite a promising shift at No.10 in their opening round loss to the Brumbies, youngster Isaac Lucas was dropped to the bench by Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn with James O'Connor handed control against the Lions in Johannesberg.

O'Connor, who played in the centres in last year's World Cup, threw some probing passes but the Reds' kicking game let down their stoic defensive effort in a 27-20 loss that left Thorn ruing another missed opportunity.

Fledgling NSW Waratahs five-eighth Will Harrison was pulled 55 minutes into their loss to the Blues on Saturday night, Kurtley Beale shifting from fullback as they recorded back-to-back losses to start a season for the first time.

The Waratahs have conceded 11 tries in the season's opening fortnight, prompting new coach Rob Penney to plead for more resilience in the post-Bernard Foley era.

The rocky starts by three of the four Australian franchises come at a bad time for the code which is facing a nervous period with its next TV deal up for grabs and Fox Sports - Australian rugby's primary broadcast partner since 1996 - threatening to walk away after its initial offer was rejected.

A dismal crowd was on hand to watch the Lions' tight defeat of the Reds but there is plenty of life in South African rugby with both the Stormers and Sharks making impressive 2-0 starts on the back of the country's World Cup win last year.

The Sharks thumped the Highlanders 42-20 in New Zealand while the Stormers shut out the Bulls 13-0.

Now coached by ex-Wales mentor Warren Gatland, the Chiefs look the strongest of the New Zealand teams.

They remained undefeated with a statement 25-15 defeat of the defending champion Crusaders, while the Hurricanes scored twice in the final nine minutes to upset the Jaguares 26-23 in Argentina and post their first win.