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'It's not acceptable - we've got to figure out why and we've got to change it'

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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After blowing a second successive Super Rugby AU victory, Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has declared his team’s failure to close out games “unacceptable”.


A week after missing a post-80 minute kick to beat the Queensland Reds and falling to a 23-21 loss, the Rebels suffered more heart-break against the Brumbies on Saturday night in Canberra.

Reserve halfback Ryan Lonergan booted the biggest kick of his career, literally and figuratively, with a 60m special from the sideline in the 83rd minute for the home side to snaffle a 27-24 victory.

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There was plenty to like about the Rebels – their intensity at the breakdown put the Brumbies on the back foot, with the frustration evident in their starting halfback, Wallabies veteran Nic White.

But their failure to convert serious pressure into a try, and faltering finish as they gave up successive penalties left Wessels seething.

“I think we can be tougher on each other than we have been – we dominated most parts of that game and we should have won,” Wessels said.

“It’s not acceptable – we’ve got to figure out why and we’ve got to change it.


“We’re going to attack it in the right way and take the next step this week.”

Skipper Matt Toomua, who was responsible for all of his team’s points with eight penalties from eight attempts, couldn’t help but applaud the winning kick from the rookie Brumbies No.9.

He was more upbeat than Wessels.

“It was pretty clutch from Ryan – you’ve got to tip your hat to that, it’s a fair old kick but the game is longer than that last kick,” Toomua said.


‘I’m pretty disappointed as a leader of the team not to close that out but there’s plenty to like so the key for us is to take the positives and the lessons.

“We’re not far away and once we get the momentum and get back to stadium, our home, our fans, we’ll be hard to beat.”

The Rebels have flown to Perth to meet the Western Force, who banked their first Super Rugby win since 2017 with Frid ay night’s victory over the NSW Waratahs.


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