Rebels once again their own worst enemy

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

His team fought hard but in the end, Tony McGahan's Rebels were the "architects of their own demise".

That was the assessment from the under pressure coach after Saturday night's loss to the Reds.

The Rebels deserve credit for staying in the fight through penalties to Reece Hodge but it took them until the second half to get any sort of attacking momentum going.

When they did, there were a handful of brain explosions which cost them the four points.

"If you don't nail things in the top 22 when you get opportunities - when you have five or six entry points in the first half and come away with nothing - that really hurts you," McGahan said.

"Couldn't fault the endeavour, couldn't fault the intent but the execution there just left ourselves too big of a mountain to climb in the end."

A woeful Marika Koroibete kick gifted the Reds Scott Higginbotham's try and some of the popgun efforts from flyhalf Ben Volavola weren't much better.

"It was pretty horrible tonight, to be honest," McGahan said.

"It hurt us.

"When the game gets down to key moments and you're a backfield player and you're getting balls back there you need some communication as well.

"I think Marika's progress in the last period of time has been excellent.

"But I'm sure if he had the opportunity he would take that back and back himself."

On the positive side, Sean McMahon doesn't look to have missed a beat.

His return to Super Rugby was a powerful second half cameo that will have him earmarked for national honours come June.

"Sean's a really important player for us and that's based off what he brings to the game," - Tony McGahan.

"Both with effort, with attitude and he's a very fierce competitor.

"To have him back out there just amongst the group during training and get 40 minutes tonight, he was absolutely busted in the last seven or eight minutes but to get through 40 minutes after seven months is a fair effort.

"He'll continue to give the group a lot of confidence - just him being out there."