Injured Rebels rally for Lions

Super Rugby
AAP
by AAP

The Melbourne Rebels have as many injured players watching from the AAMI Park stands as players on the field but they still maintain they're a fighting chance for a Super Rugby upset against the Lions on Saturday afternoon.

The Rebels are missing 15 players, including skipper Nic Stirzaker (ankle), who became the latest to join the casualty list in a season to forget.

The injury toll has contributed to just one win in 2017, while Melbourne also have the axe hanging over their heads with the Australian Rugby Union saying they or the Western Force will be cut ahead of next season's revamped competition.

However, coach Tony McGahan says the players are putting on a brave face and have rebounded well from a disappointing last round loss to the Kings in Port Elizabeth.

"We were noticeably a bit down on Sunday and still a bit flat on Wednesday from the flight from South Africa and the performance but we had a really good training session on Thursday," McGahan said.

McGahan wants to see more from his senior players, who failed to mount any kind of challenge as the Kings posted 33 unanswered points in the second half.

The Rebels lost their way when halfback Mick Snowden suffered a season-ending foot injury and they had to compete for three-quarters of the match with a makeshift No.9.

Ben Meehan will take over the role with debutant Harrison Goddard on the bench.

"We were pretty disappointed with whole package," McGahan said.

"We couldn't break them down, we needed to make sure we scored early and then once Mick went off we were a bit off rabble to be honest.

"We tried hard but we couldn't dent the line and ended up running around in circles."

The Lions will host a semi-final. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Lions are the top-ranked South African team with eight wins from nine games but due to a quirk of the Super Rugby draw avoid playing any of the dominant New Zealand teams.

McGahan, however, defended their position as worthy title contenders.

"If you look at the Lions they made the final last year and have been improving," he said.

"Some of the rugby they've played this year has been fantastic.

"This Lions side, the way they play for each other, the way they can attack and the have a really strong set piece as well.

"I think they're a different kettle of fish than just playing the New Zealand sides."

The Rebels take on the Lions on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.

The Rebels injury toll:

Jonah Placid (hip): 2 weeks

Sean McMahon (ankle/knee): 2-3 weeks

Nic Stirzaker (ankle): 4-5 weeks

Jordy Reid (back): 5-7 weeks

Jack Debreczeni (hamstring): 6-8 weeks

Murray Douglas (foot): 8-10 weeks

Harley Fox (ankle): 8-10 weeks

Jack McGregor (foot): 4 months

Sam Jeffries (ankle): indefinitely

Tim Metcher (foot): indefinitely

Pama Fou (knee): season

Rob Leota (knee): season

Dominic Shipperley (knee): season

Mick Snowden (foot): season

Alex Toolis (neck): season

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