Rebels' intensity instigated Sharks' downfall
REACTION: Melbourne Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi credits improved intensity for Friday’s victory over the Sharks at AAMI Park.
The Rebels' 46-14 win over South African opponents made sure they remained on top of the Australian Conference with four wins from their opening five games. After a disappointing loss to the Waratahs the week before, Melbourne wanted to raise its effort to another level.
"We try to bring a lot of intensity into our game," Rangi said.
"That really showed through [against the Sharks],”
The 29-year-old scored his first Super Rugby try in the 10th minute of Friday’s game to get the Rebels out to an early lead.
With an extra forward on the bench, they were able to keep their intensity for the entire game.
"It was really valuable [having an extra forward],” Rangi said.
"There’s nothing like having another forward to give the boys a break.
"We can really empty the tank,"
Rebels coach Dave Wessels’ changed approach leading into the game was a decisive factor in the result, with Melbourne recording its highest winning margin in its short Super Rugby history.
"The driving message…was nothing but love," Rangi said.
"We saw that out there – the intensity and the love that we showed for each other.
"It was really good to put that out there,"
The Rebels are undefeated at The Stockade this season as they turn AAMI Park into a fortress.
The Rebels host the Hurricanes on Good Friday, their first match against a New Zealand opponent in 2018.
It will be a good challenge for an improved Melbourne outfit, which could be buoyed by the return of 21-year-old Hooker Jordan Uelese, who has missed the last two games with a minor hamstring injury.
"The Kiwi teams bring a lot of x-factor – you never know what’s coming next," Rangi said.
"If we keep driving hard on our intensity and take the game to them, we have a good crack at it.
"We work well together [Rangi and Uelese].
"We’re competitive as hell at training. But come game day…we’re backing each other the whole way,"