Home-grown Rebels U20s ready for Queensland challenge

Patrick Foulkes
by Patrick Foulkes

The Melbourne Rebels U20s will have to be at their best to beat the undefeated Queensland U20s in this Sunday’s Super U20s Championship Final, but the side from Victoria is ready for the final part of their journey.  

“Everyone is pretty excited,” Rebels U20s Head Coach Craig McGrath said. 

“It’s the inaugural competition and to make the Final first time out is pretty exciting for both staff and players.” 

After surprising the NSW Gen Blue U20s with a 39-26 victory in Sydney, the Rebels let their guard against the Brumbies.  

“We definitely got some confidence off beating NSW but with our loss the next week against the Brumbies brought us back a bit,” McGrath said.   

“You’re only as good as your last game. 

“We got some confidence out of beating NSW and we know that we can compete with the so called bigger teams. But we got beaten up on Saturday night and we can only look as far as that. 

“We need to fix some of our issues and move forward.” 

Coming off the bye the Queensland U20s are expected to be fresh having allowed their bodies to recover from four weeks of intense competition around the country.  

“We haven’t really thought too much about Queensland. Even throughout the competition we haven’t thought about the opposition and what they are going to do defensively or offensively. 

“We’re about what we want to do. 

“Going in as underdogs doesn’t really concern us, it’s just about us as individuals going out there to do our role and as team bringing it together.” 

With the majority of the Rebels U20s being home grown from Melbourne, this is a truly Victorian side that has made the Final.   

“Generally all of our players are Victorian based and they have come through the Melbourne Rebels program. 

“That is a testament to the work that the Victorian Community Rugby side have done to develop these players through the Junior Gold Cup and the Schoolboys Program.

“I think this competition is taking players to a different level in terms of their preparation. We started back in October and we have a long build up to this program with some of these players involved in our emerging Rebels squad. 

“It’s been a really long process to get these boys to the required standard, and they have a better understanding now of what is required to play professional Rugby. 

“Everyone has improved and these players will go back to their Clubs and hopefully will improve the standard of Club Rugby here in Victoria. 

“The way the program is working is how we envisaged it would. It’s not working by fluke it’s been a lot of hard work by the staff and then a lot of hard work by the players. 

The Melbourne Rebels U20s will play Queensland U20s at Ballymore Stadium at 2pm this Sunday 2 April. 

The match will be live streamed through rugby.com.au.