Rebels not distracted by SANZAAR speculation

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Tony McGahan has not entertained the thought of the Rebels being cut from Super Rugby, preferring to focus on addressing his team's woeful start to 2017.

The Rebels' -103 points differential after two thrashings at the hands of Kiwi opponents says all anyone needs to know about their start to the season.

Friday night's clash with the Chiefs shapes as a season reset, though the Chiefs did beat a Hurricanes team on Saturday that smashed the Rebels by 65 the week prior.

The pair of poor showings have thrown the Rebels into the mix as a team that may face the chop should SANZAAR and the respective broadcasters agree on a revised model for the 2018 season.The Rebels have been thumped in their two starts this season. Photo: Getty ImagesDespite the speculation, McGahan kept his focus on the field when he spoke to media this morning.

"We’ve got enough on our plate down here to worry about so we’ll just get on with the Chiefs and I’m sure the powers at be will let us all know," he said.

"You can understand in any organisation there would be some talk but certainly we haven’t discussed it as a group, as a staff, or individually.

"For us, we are concerned about playing and what we do know is that our performances in the first two weeks haven’t been good enough.

"Whatever excuses and whatever we could cling on to would be nice but we are ultimately judge on what we do on the field and that starts again Friday night.Jackson Garden-Bachop has struggled at flyhalf behind a back-pedalling forward pack. Photo: Getty ImagesWhen pushed, McGahan made a case for the Rebels' survival should one Australian team be forced out.

"I don’t know the criteria - is it on two weeks of rugby or is it over a period of time, financial resources, ownership, no one really knows," he said.

"But I don’t think there is anyone involved in rugby in Melbourne or that has been in the past or right now that doesn’t believe that (Melbourne should survive).

"We have the players and staff that have moved down here to make sure this thing is a success,"

"Certainly with Andrew Cox and Peter Sidwell as owners here and all the good work that a lot of people put in to get this place established in the first place.

"We’re the lucky ones now, being able to survive and have a job out of this and we want to make sure that continues."

Having been ravaged by key injuries early on, McGahan said Sefa Naivalu and Welsh recruit Dominic Day were a chance of playing on Friday.

Sean McMahon remains four weeks away from a return, while Toby Smith will sit out another six to seven weeks.