Kings vs Rebels: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

An undermanned Rebels never fired a shot in Port Elizabeth this morning.

Here are five things we learned from the 44-3 loss.

1. Rebels pay price for gamble

Rebels coach Tony McGahan gambled by not taking a third scrumhalf to South Africa and it blew up in his face at Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning.

With skipper Nic Stirzaker ruled out on the eve of the match Mick Snowden stepped up but was soon off the field with his ankle in a bucket of iced water.

But with no specialist scrum half on the bench Will Miller, Colby Fainga’a and eventually Ben Volavola had a crack and to be honest none of it worked.

The Rebels attack never threatened from that point on.

2. Volavola ho-hum at flyhalf

Ben Volavola deserved a crack at starting flyhalf but he was fairly bland this morning.

Reece Hodge took a lot of the workload as chief playmaker and but that isn't a sustainable long term solution.

Things were never going to be easy with no halfback and Volavola played their himself after the 50 minute mark but he will need to build on this performance.

If the Rebels could get the kind of form we saw from him at the 2015 World Cup for Fiji, they'd be a far better outfit.

3. Kings build on impressive Australian tour

Make no mistake, this Kings list is one of the worst Super Rugby has ever seen.

Coach Deon Davids and his staff deserve a mention as they have turned a bunch of rejects into a team that has won on Australian soil and carried that form back to Port Elizabeth.

They defend with heart, attack with try-scoring intent - though their skills often let them down - and are growing in their set piece play.

4. Missed tackles still cause for concern

The Rebels had plenty of ball this morning so they didn't have to do too much defensive work but when they did, it wasn't good.

They missed 24 of their 99 attempted tackles - an alarming completion rate of 76 percent.

To put that into context, the Kings missed one less tackle despite attempting 71 more.

5. Koroibete threatens to break out

Wingers are completely reliant on their forwards and inside backs providing space to move and Marika Koroibete hasn't had much help this season.

He impressed with every touch tonight, though, as he hunted for more work infield.

He had nine runs for 93 metres, three tackle busts, two line breaks and an offload.

A shining light in an otherwise tough morning for Rebels fans.