Rebels preparing for physical battle

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels are preparing for a physical battle when they take on Samoa on Thursday night.

It’will be the first time the Rebels will field a close to full-strength squad, a fortnight after their opening trial against the Blues in Auckland.

Flanker Sean McMahon will captain the side in his first match since last year’s Rugby world Cup and said he would be drawing on those experiences this season.

“It was a great experience going to the World Cup, being able to bring back what I learned back here is probably what's’ lifting me to gain more experience and knowledge coming into the 2016 season,” he said.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said McMahon epitomised the development of their younger players in recent years.

“Sean’s one of a number of guys who we’ve invested in over the last two years,” he said.

“We really feel these guys have got a great grasp of where the group is, the club, who they want to play for and who they want to represent.”

McGahan said the World Cup experience that players like McMahon and Toby Smith now have would be invaluable for the Rebels in 2016.

“He (McMahon) has the World Cup (experience now).

“Anytime you’re playing international come back with some really good experience and great belief.

“To be on an international stage and be in a Wallabies side that played so well’s very hard to replicate at training.

“They’re earned through the team and those two guys have been at the forefront of what we’re doing this preseason.”

The Rebels are set to announce their 2016 captain later this week, with Jack Debreczeni and McMahon serving as captains for their trials.