Melbourne halfback Will Genia is likely to sit out his team’s Super Rugby clash with the all-conquering Crusaders, but the Rebels won’t be leaving anything in the tank as they attempt to lock down a finals berth.
The Rebels blew a golden chance to cement a maiden play-off spot with a 20-15 loss to the NSW Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday night.
While the effort was there, they paid the price for poor discipline, too many handling errors and conceding 22 turnovers to their opponents’ nine.
Melbourne coach Dave Wessels was frustrated by their performance, although he gave credit to the Waratahs who had their season on the line.
“The Waratahs played really well and put a lot of pressure on our ball and defended well,” Wessels said.
“We probably just rushed things – we got our tails up and got a bit excited as we tried to get a ball away that wasn’t on and that’s frustrating.”
In the remaining two games, they travel to Christchurch to face the defending champion and ladder-leader Crusaders, and then they’re at home against the Chiefs.
Test halfback Will Genia must sit out a match as part of the Wallabies’ rest policy, so while Wessels said he hadn’t decided when that would be, it makes sense that he misses the trip to New Zealand.
The remainder of their Wallabies contingent have already sat out their quota of games.
But Wessels said his team would go all out to win both games rather than target the Chiefs, who are currently last in the New Zealand conference, therefore theoretically a more winnable game.
They need to finish in the top eight overall for a maiden finals appearance.
Melbourne have had one win in four trips to Christchurch, with a 20-10 victory back in round one of 2015.
“I don’t think we’ve got that luxury,” Wessels said.
“We’ve got to go to Christchurch with a view that we want to win.
“We’ve got a game that can cause most teams in this comp trouble, as long as we play it consistently for 80 minutes.”
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