Rebels look to outmuscle Sharks
Tue, 29 Apr 2014 09:05
Rebels lock Hugh Pyle says his side must muscle-up and top the Sharks' physicality if they are to triumph when they meet in Melbourne on Friday.
Rebels lock Hugh Pyle says his side must muscle-up and top the Sharks' physicality if they are to emerge victorious when they meet in Melbourne on Friday.
The Sharks are recognised for having one of the most physical forward packs in Super Rugby, and Pyle knows that the Rebels need to bring the physicality when they take on the combined conference leaders.
"They're going to be coming hard and tough so we've got to go harder and go tougher."
The 25-year-old second row realises that the Sharks will be looking to bounce back after their 18-34 loss to the Highlanders and that will only add to the determination of the men from Durban.
"The Highlanders have been playing some really good footy and to get the win at Durban was an extremely big feat," he told AAP.
"But on the back of that the Sharks aren't going to be happy with their performance so they will be coming out firing this week.
When the teams last met the Sharks smashed the Rebels 64-7 in Durban last year, running in 10 tries to one, and the Rebels are using that day as motivation as a re-match looms.
It is the Rebels' biggest losing margin to date, and to compound the humiliation, teammates Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna were involved in a late night punch-up which saw both sent home.
A year later, with Beale and Vuna both having left the Melbourne-based side, Pyle says that although a lot of their personnel and the coaching staff are different - the result still hurts those who played.
"The blokes who are still around [from the record defeat] definitely reflect on that and use that as a lot of motivation for this coming week.
"I don't think anyone who played in that game was happy with their performance.
"There's not a lot of [Rebels] people who played that game [left] going around [the squad] and it's a different coach so it's a very different vibe going into the game and a different structure and game plan," Pyle said
The Rebels are in good form after breaking the five-match winning streak of the Force with a 22-16 victory in their last outing before their bye, but could be without Toby Smith for the game against the Sharks, as the loosehead prop has a shoulder injury.
Smith is only rated as having a 50-50 chance of playing but will be given until Friday to prove his fitness.