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Rebels Super forwards cleared of serious injuries

By AAP
(Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Beaten up by the Blues in their Super Rugby Pacific match, Melbourne received welcome news with some key forwards cleared of serious injury.

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The Rebels led the Blues 17-13 at halftime at AAMI Park before the visitors piled on seven unanswered second half tries to run away with a thumping 54-17 victory.

Melbourne’s cause wasn’t helped by losing two hookers – Alex Mafi (finger) and Jordan Uelese (knee) as well as lineout-calling lock Trevor Hosea (knee) in the first half.

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Test prop Pone Fa’amausili was assisted from the field too but it was due to cramping rather than a calf injury as initially feared.

A third hooker, Anaru Rangi, has also been battling a calf injury that ruled him out of selection for the Blues match.

Uelese, who was named in the Wallabies squad that will meet on the Gold Coast next Sunday, has a history of knee trouble while Hosea missed all of last year with a foot issue.

But the Rebels said on Monday the pair were expecte d to be available for their next Super clash, against the Crusaders, which follows this week’s bye.

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A club spokesman said the knees of both players were structurally stable, with the injuries determined to be severe corks.

Mafi’s finger was a dislocation that pierced the skin but he too should be fit for their round eight clash.

Shell-shocked skipper Brad Wilkin said Melbourne’s second half fade was inexcusable and they would need to lift against the fourth-placed Crusaders, who are the reigning champions.

“We have to be tougher,” said flanker Wilkin, who was also included in the Wallabies squad.

“A game of rugby isn’t going to be perfect and things are going to go against you but I think we could have been a bit tougher, sticking in the fight when it gets a bit tough and showing a bit of character.

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“We did it in patches and some guys were showing it but we need a collective buy-in.”

Despite the disappointing result, Rebels coach Kevin Foote lauded his captain, who has stepped in with Rob Leota sidelined after a ruptured Achilles.

“Brad’s awesome – he’s come through a big injury history and to see him get named in the Wallabies is awesome,” Foote said.

“I’m really proud of him as he deserves this. He’s going to go really well in gold.”

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Jon 2 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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