Rebels desperate to find reward for improvement

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Improvement won’t be enough for the Rebels this weekend, as they vie to break their winless start to the year.

The Rebels take on the Highlanders on Friday night, with the Kiwi side coming off a thrilling win over the Brumbies and coach Tony McGahan said only a result would be enough.

“Whilst we've improved the last two weeks, we're still without a result and that's the issue and that's the burning desire for the playing group and everyone involved this weekend,” he said.

McGahan is giving his injured players until the last minute to prove their fitness for the HIghlanders clash, naming a 25-man squad for the game, with injuries hitting them in Super Rugby, Super U20s and in the Dewar Shield last week.

“We've had a few disruptions this week with the injury toll last week both in Super Rugby U20s and club round we picked up a little bit of damage there,” he said.

“So, we're giving everyone every opportunity to get right. For us ,that'll extend all the way into tomorrow.”

'Super Sefa' is in line for his first debut. Photo: Getty ImagesWinger Sefa Naivalu has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury, forcing a backline reshuffle.

Whoever takes to the field in Dunedin on Friday night, their focus will be on finishing strong, after being overrun against the Waratahs and Chiefs the past two weeks.

“We need to start well but we need to finish off the back end of games and we've seen more of the impact of benches and what you need to get done to play out the full 80 and it's a really tight comp, he said.

“You see that results wise some sides have won a couple right at the death and we've lost a couple - that's the nature of it.

“We just need to make sure we're winning ball and be able to keep it and make sure we're not putting ourselves under huge pressure defensively and that's been the case (in recent weeks).

“Once we fix those little errors, we're going to be much more better, be able to run out the back end of the game.”

The Rebels take on the Highlanders on Friday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEDT, LIVE on FOXSPORTS.