Trio of internationals back on deck for Rebels could save side from further humiliation at the hands of the Hurricanes
The Rebels suffered a humiliating 50-3 loss to the Blues on Saturday night at AAMI Park, with players apologising post-game to new coach Kevin Foote for their performance in his debut match.
They next take on the Hurricanes, who put 64 points on the NSW Waratahs, and Foote warned more pain was ahead for the Rebels if they didn’t get their set-piece right.
The Blues scrum towelled up the Rebels, while they lost five of their lineouts, putting massive pressure on the team.
A costly penalty count of 13, errors due to the Blues’ rushing defence, as well as 28 missed tackles capped an awful night for the hosts.
Foote described the set-piece failure as a “big problem”.
“If your set-piece doesn’t fire, it’s hard to fire a shot,” Foote said.
“We didn’t feel like we had the ball … our exiting (from our half) wasn’t very good either so playing a lot of rugby in our own half and not putting pressure on them added up and by the end of it, our defence fell into a hole.
Melbourne can at least look to welcome back a trio of forwards from suspension, with test backrower Isi Naisarani, as well as Wallabies squad members prop Pone Fa’amausili and Trevor Hosea, who was their starting lock all through Super Rugby AU, available for selection.
Skipper Matt To’omua said the team still had belief they weren’t just making up the numbers in the six-week competition, with the top two teams squaring off the final.
“We’re looking for improvement,” Toomua said.
“We have a lot of belief in this team and belief is a word that is easy to say when you’re winning.
“We’ve got a few guys back from suspension and injury so we’re not going over there to make up numbers, we’re going over to win so we will get back up again.”
– Melissa Woods
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