Rebels ready to bounce back: Parling

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

A new look Rebels starting XV has the team ready to bounce back from a second half flogging at the hands of the Waratahs, according to lock Geoff Parling.

Parling will make his first start of the season as one of seven changes to a team that went into its shell in the second half last Sunday, as the Waratahs ran rampant.

The former British and Irish Lion said the team's preparation was back on point, having slipped a notch prior to their trip to Allianz Stadium.

"For whatever reason a team has a slip and I do think last week the energy had gone a bit," Parling told reporters on Thursday.

"It only takes two or three percent from every player and the whole thing drops.Parling will make his first start for the Rebels on Friday. Photo: Melbourne Rebels Media"Training has been good but you can train however you want to train - tomorrow is what matters."

The task Melbourne faces is a Sharks side that are following a similar path to the Bulls - with the Lions having blazed the way for South African sides with an expansive style of play.

The Sharks and Bulls have followed suit - throwing the ball around in situations they might not have chosen to do so in years past.

That will produce a fire meets fire clash at AAMI Park.

"Whenever you play a South African team they run straight, physical and they've got a good set piece," Parling said.

"But I do think think they've had a bit more of an emphasis now on ball movement because the Lions have been their most successful team.The Rebels are eager to get back to winning ways at AAMI Park. Photo: Getty Images"But certainly how you front up and how you start the game has a big impact on your play against South African teams."

On a personal front, it's been a frustrating opening month for Parling, who has had a hamstring niggle and concussion complaint to contend with.

Melbourne's healthy lock stocks have also made it tougher to break into the second row than first thought, with Parling signing before the host of former Force players joined the club.

"It's definitely changed since I signed - of course it has," Parling said of the club's lock stocks.

"But I'd rather be at a stronger team that has a chance of winning something than one that doesn't.

"I'm just excited to get out there."

The Rebels host the Sharks at AAMI Park on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.