Rebels hamstrung by scrumhalf shortage

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The absence of a third scrumhalf in South Africa hampered the Rebels' capacity to apply pressure on the Kings, according to coach Tony McGahan.

Nic Stirzaker injured his ankle the night before game day so Mick Snowden was handed the starting gig, but when he limped off with an ankle injury the Rebels lost all attacking shape.

Colby Fainga'a is in the form of his life but he's certainly no No.9.

He was the first makeshift option for Melbourne but his passes lacked zip and he was picking the ball up before knowing who he was going to pass to.Ben Volavola was shifted into halfback at the 50 minute mark. Photo: Getty ImagesSo McGahan ran Jackson Garden-Bachop on at flyhalf and shifted Ben Volavola to scrumhalf at the 50-minute mark, but even that combination struggled to get anything going.

The shoddy halves play stopped the Rebels getting over the gain line, which in turn made the job for the makeshift 9-10 combination that much harder.

It was tough viewing for Rebels supporters and similarly for McGahan.

"It wasn't much of a spectacle, really, was it," - Tony McGahan.

"Especially on our side, losing Nic Stirzaker last night really hurt us.

"We only travelled with two nines, Mick Snowden starts, goes in and I thought we looked okay there for 15 minutes in attack and then we ended up losing Mick.The Rebels couldn't go with the Kings in the second half. Photo: Getty Images"So we ended up using Colby Fainga'a and Ben Volavola.

"I think we toiled hard, we just weren't able to control the ball."

The Rebels had 61 percent possession - 69 percent in the first half - but could not register a try.

Their attack was one dimensional and picked off with ease by a Kings team that has new found confidence following their win in Sydney against the Waratahs.

"We dominated possession but they defended really well," McGahan said.

"Their spirit grew as the game went on and the scoreboard reflected that."