Rebels must take their desire to Africa: McGahan

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels want to hang on to the emotion that spurred them to their first Super Rugby win in 2017, coach Tony McGahan said.

A draining week, and indeed season to this point, was momentarily relieved by their 19-17 win over the Australian conference leaders and that relief was seen as soon as fulltime was called.

McGahan said the post-match scenes, where players lingered to take photos with fans amid uncertainty over their Super Rugby future, as well as their gritty win revealed a layer of the club.

“I think it's been a pretty big six or seven weeks for us, right across, on and off the field and I think you saw a really great insight into the heart of the club tonight,” he said.

The Rebels took time to savour their win on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images“(You saw it) through the players and what they wanted to represent and how hey wanted to play and you saw the crowd there at the end.”

Two games lost in the final 20 minutes before their drought-breaking win played on their minds along with the wider Super Rugby scenario but McGahan praised his side’s ability to keep on trucking.

“That really knocks a group and you've just got to keep getting off the canvas and keep going forward and the things on the side continue to materialise and those things certainly don't help,” he said.

“We haven't made a really big song and dance about it, we just need to get on with it because the only thing that you can do is play and we're employed here to coach, be a staff member in whatever capacity it is.

“Those other things are external - we spoke about it on Tuesday, left it there and now we just need to get on with things, that's really where it's been.” - Tony McGahan.

Captain Nic Sitrzaker echoed his coach’s thoughts about the emotion of the win.

“You probably saw it on the field - celebrating a bit hard for a regular season win but I think it just shows where we've been with the results and also off the field, just a combination of everything,” he said.

“I think we've been building for that result and really ecstatic to get it tonight.”

There was a bit of fire between the Brumbies and Rebels on Saturday. Photo: WalmsleyThree yellow cards, including two from the same play, were not part of the plan for victory and McGahan said it was something they’d need to review.

The Rebels (47) were the equal-least penalised side in the competition ahead of round eight, along with the Brumbies, and still conceded two fewer penalties than their opponents on Saturday night.

“It’s (conceding cards) huge and the players involved certainly know that and certainly not what we want to be doing,” he said.

With matches against the Sharks and the Kings in their looming two-week South Africa tour, McGahan said the next step was to harness this

“We need to make sure more importantly that we back this effort and this emotion up, we need to make sure we carry through for the next seven games,” he said.

“We leave for South Africa on Monday, we need to make sure that's packed in our bags and we're able to carry that though for the Sharks and Kings game."

Injured prop Toby Smith will accompany the squad to South Africa and will be in contention for the game against the Sharks in Durban.

The Rebels take on the Sharks next Sunday morning, kicking off at 3:30am AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.