Rebels need to tighten up

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:09
Large tony mcgahan

The Melbourne Rebels have ambitious plans to stamp themselves as one of the best defensive teams in Super Rugby with new coach Tony McGahan.

The Melbourne Rebels have ambitious plans to stamp themselves as one of the best defensive teams in Super Rugby with new coach Tony McGahan.
 
Under McGahan, the Rebels are working hard to turn their biggest weakness into their greatest strength this season. 
 
Last year they conceded 515 points, including 65 tries. The only side to have a worse defensive record was the now relegated Southern Kings.
 
Speaking to AAP ahead of their first pre-season clash with the Waratahs on Saturday in Albury, McGahan said defence was an area he quickly identified that the Rebels could improve.
 
"We feel that if we can get good improvement there we're going to turn some of those close defeats into victories and that's what we're about."
 
Rebels back Tom English said defence was a priority.
 
"We've moved in a new direction where we're a very defence-oriented team so we've been working hard on our contact and our breakdown so we're really looking forward to getting into it", he said.
 
"We want that to be our point of difference.
 
"We're going to hurt sides; we're looking to turn over ball and really make them earn points."
 
English said the Rebels needed to change their mind-set in defence as well as improve their technique.
 
"You've got to want to get dirty and help out your mate beside you but it's also a lot of technique so we've been doing a lot of drills focusing on the breakdown, focusing on the tackling technique and really nailing down the detail there."
 
When their attack fired the Rebels managed to score some exciting tries last season and English said they still had a licence to thrill.
 
"There's still going to be some of that razzle-dazzle but we're going to earn that off the back of our hard work.
 
"We're not going to be throwing 50/50s, we're going to be working for our points."
 
The Rebels are set to line up against former teammates Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps on Saturday. English said he hoped the duo noticed a difference.
 
"Hopefully we will come out and they won't know what we're doing.
 
"Hopefully we will paint a different picture and put them on edge; it will be fun to stick it to them", the wing said. 
 
McGahan said he would give every fit player a run in Albury, with Bryce Hegarty and Angus Roberts sharing the flyhalf duties.
 
"Most players will play a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 [minutes]", the coach added. 
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Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
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Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
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Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 25 | 32
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13 | 7
Sat, 17 February 2018
Cardiff Blues v Munster 25 | 18
Lions v Sharks 26 | 19
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 1 1 0 0 5
Brumbies 1 1 0 0 4
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 1
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 1 1 0 0 4
Blues 1 0 0 1 1
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 1 0 0 1 0