Breakdown battle not just backrowers' domain

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There’s no Sean McMahon, but the Rebels’ backrow still looms as a major threat when the Melbourne side hosts the Waratahs.

The Rebels will have no shortage of threats, with Lopeti Timani likely to return from a knee injury and No.8 Amanaki Mafi the shining light of the Rebels’ tumultuous opening month.

Waratahs lock Dean Mumm said sorting out that threat would be a key priority as they hunt for their second win of the season.

“Our attacking breakdown hasn’t been at a level that we need it to be,” he said.

“Speed of ball and speed of play is the way we want to play and so losing that, you lose a facet of how you want to go about things, a facet of your identity, so to speak.


“Jordy Reid and Colby Fainga'a were particularly good there on the weekend and we’re very aware of that threat, also with the running threat of Lopeti and/or Mafi as well.

“They’re a terrific backrow and something that we need to combat. That’s not really a backrow v backrow thing, it’s more whoever’s dealing with the threat nearby has to get that down.”

Mumm said the players had to take ownership of their slow start to the year, with a gap between training and game day performances leaving them ruing missed chances.

“We’re the ones going out there and offering a collective performance,” he said.

“We own that, we know we’re not playing how we want to play and to an identity that we’re inherently proud of and we’re going to get better.

“If there’s going to be personnel changes, then some people have had chances and if you don’t perform then someone else might get the opportunity to play.

“I back the quality of our squad and the strength within it, so those people who get an opportunity, it will be very exciting to see what they can do in the jumper." - Dean Mumm

Mumm ruled himself out of stepping into the six jersey, with Jack Dempsey’s replacement set to be a decision between Ned Hanigan and Michael Wells.

Waratahs defence coach Nathan Grey said they would be wary of the Rebels in the breakdown, after their effort against the Chiefs.

“The Rebels really troubled them at their set piece and their breakdown,” he said.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that they’re parts of their game that are very strong, and they’re going to challenge us in that area.”

The Waratahs take on the Rebels on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.

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