Another Rebel faces the axe

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 09:59
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Head coach Damien Hill could be the next Rebel to face the axe, as the Melbourne franchise's season continues to spiral out of control.

Head coach Damien Hill could be the next Rebel to face the axe, as the Melbourne franchise's season continues to spiral out of control.

The Rebels are currently 13th in the Super Rugby standings, after five successive defeats - with the underperforming outfit beset by on-field and off-field troubles.

Last week one of the Rebels' most expensive high-profile players, Wallaby utility back Kurtley Beale, quit the game in  the wake of another drunken indiscretion.

Beale and wing Cooper Vuna were both sent home for a post-match altercation in the team bus in the wake of their record loss to the Sharks.

According to reports in the Australian media Rebels Chief Executive Steve Boland hinted that Hill could join Beale on the sidelines if the team's fortunes  don't improve soon.

Hill is contracted until the end of the current season.

"We've had some discussions with Damien," Boland told the Australian Associated Press.

"The coaching window and player recruitment window can't wait until the end of the season, for those sorts of decisions so we need to make a decision on our coach well before the end of the year.

"We're all in the same boat. We need to see some performances that justify the team we've got and the effort everybody's putting in."

The Rebels flew into Perth on Monday following a winless South African tour - which included the record 10-try defeat and the sending home of the two Wallabies, Beale and Vuna.

Despite the presence of high-profile internationals like back row forward Scott Higginbotham, James O'Connor, Nick Phipps and Beale, the Rebels's only win has been against fellow Aussie strugglers the Western Force in Week One.

Among the rumblings of discontent, O'Connor, also coming off contract, has been linked to the high-flying Brumbies in a media report.

Boland said the club had started discussions with O'Connor and they wanted him to remain a Rebel.

"I had a discussion with his agent 10 days ago and we're working through it," he told AAP.

"At that meeting there was no mention of him talking to other clubs."

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Force 13 4 0 9 17
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Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
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Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
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Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
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Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19