Video: Rebels to target Brumbies
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Melbourne Rebels’ recent debutant Nathan Charles said he side will bounce back when they take on Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
Charles came off the bench in the Rebels’ 55-10 loss to the Crusaders at AAMI Park last Friday, just four days after arriving in Australia from English Premiership club, Bath.
After just two training sessions with his new teammates, Charles replaced starting hooker, Anaru Rangi for 21 minutes last Friday. As the Rebels look to shake a five-game losing streak, Charles said there was added emphasis on doing the season-double on the Brumbies in the nation’s capital.
"The boys will bounce back. We’ve got the team, the players and the depth, so if you’re not on your game, you’re not going to be on the team – that’s the picture I get from Dave," Charles said.
"We all know how big a challenge this weekend is going to be against the Brumbies, but also how important it is with the conference system.
"Obviously if you win your conference, you’re going to make the Finals. So that places a large importance on these [Australian] derby games.
"From the result, they had against the Brumbies [earlier in the season], I think we can go there and really turn it on again. I think the team feels they can do that again too.
"If you’re winning these derby games, it’s essentially a ten-point turnaround,"
The four-Test Wallaby’s short tenure has already been well-received by his new club, with Head Coach Dave Wessels praising the former Western Force hooker of 83 caps and his initiative in learning new set-piece work before his first training session last Tuesday.
Charles shrugged it off, saying it is a part of the job description.
"This is my job and this is what I love doing. I enjoy getting to know new roles and new detail," Charles said.
"Before I flew back, I did contact Joe (Forwards coach, Joe Barakat) and a few of the guys here about lineouts and again on the Monday before the first training session.
"I don’t want to be rocking in here on the short turnaround and having to learn all these new calls from scratch, so if I can come in with a base detail that will only benefit me and team and ultimately that is what it is all about,"
With the set piece being identified as an area improvement the Rebels following disappointing showings in South Africa against the Bulls and Stormers, and then the Crusaders, Charles said it is an area of experience he hopes to bring to the Rebels.
And it’s all part of his make-up as he reflected on his move away from Super Rugby at the end of 2016.
"Set piece is a massive thing in Europe, and that’s something that takes adjusting to and my first couple of weeks in Europe were tough because they do something different over there than what happens here," Charles said.
"They (European clubs) use the set-piece as a weapon every single time they can. The weather can dictate the way you play the game.
"I think I am a better player (than when I left Australia) and I think my knowledge of the game has improved because I got it from a different perspective.
"I think I’ve come back a happier player too, I really enjoyed my time there too on and off the field, so I think all-round I’m in a better place.”
The Rebels fly to Canberra on Friday, before meeting the Brumbies at GIO Stadium on Saturday.