Wessels demands improved showing from Rebels

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

There's not a whiff of complacency in Melbourne despite the Rebels' record breaking win against the Reds, with coach Dave Wessels declaring his team must improve to beat the Sunwolves.

Wessels called his squad into train on Sunday - a rarity - such was his desire to fix up parts of their game which he deemed unacceptable against the Reds.

He followed that up with a double session on Monday, driving the message that the Sunwolves are no easy beats, given their showing against the Brumbies on Saturday.

"I'm pleased that we won but we just have a lot of work to do," Wessels told reporters on Monday.The Rebels are kicking things up a gear ahead of their round two clash with the Sunwolves. Photo: Getty Images"I don't think we should underestimate the importance of winning for this group because they haven't won for a very long time and obviously some of the off field circumstances that preceded the game put a bit of extra pressure on us.

"But if you look at a couple of key parts of our game I think we need a lot of work there to be genuinely consistent and competitive, there is a lot of work to go."

The key "work on" from Wessels' point of view was the forward pack's performance at scrum time.

The Reds held their own with a seven man scrum for 70 minutes after Scott Higginbotham was given his marching orders for a high shot on Matt Philip and that was not good enough in the eyes of the Melbourne coach.

"At the start of the game I thought we were scrummaging as individuals," Wessels said.

"I don't think technically we were very good and then, towards the back end of the game, we pushed them off the ball a couple of times.


"I think by that stage technically we were better and we were scrummaging as a pack rather than as individuals."

While Wessels has repeatedly pushed the need to improve, one particularly pleasing part of Melbourne's win was the work of the halves combination.

Will Genia was best on ground by as far as one can kick their hat and that allowed Jack Debreczeni to thrive.

"That was probably one of the most pleasing things for me, in the game," Wessels said of the halves combination.

"You could literally see the confidence and the relationship between them growing as the game went on.

"We are very happy with where Jack is at and I think he is happy, too.Jack Debreczeni was impressive at flyhalf for Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images"He's enjoying his rugby again, which is great."

Marika Koroibete won't travel to Japan as he prepares to return against the Brumbies in round three but there are no other major injury concerns for Melbourne, who won't be taking the Sunwolves lightly.

Wessels expressed his surprise that the Sunwolves caught many off guard on Saturday, given their new look coaching staff and injection of international talent.

"Anyone that is surprised by the Sunwolves' performance hasn't been paying attention over the last couple of months," he said.

"They've got a very good coaching staff, they've recruited a lot of experienced international players and they're the national team.

"We think they're going to be a huge test this week and they're certainly much, much better than Sunwolves teams of the past.

"To beat the Sunwolves we have to play better than we did to beat the Reds."

The Rebels face the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, kicking off at 3:15pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.