Rebels ready for first trans-Tasman tussle

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Fresh off a return to the winner's circle, the Rebels are relishing the opportunity to fly the Australian flag when they tackle the Hurricanes next Friday.

Melbourne's showdown with the 'Canes will be the first trans-Tasman clash of the season, with Australia's well publicised shortcomings against Kiwi foes set to face its first test.

None of the five Australian franchises tasted success against New Zealand opposition last year but Rebels captain Adam Coleman said his side couldn't wait to take on the Hurricanes at AAMI Park - a ground the Rebels are eager to morph into their own fortress.

"I think it'll be a great challenge," Coleman said.

"We really want to make sure this is a fortress for us.

"We'll just be sticking to our processes and we're really keen to get back out there on AAMI Park and play in front of our Melbourne fans."

Melbourne shot clear with a strong second half against the Sharks and coach Dave Wessels could see the enjoyment his players pulled from the win.

"I think we play our best when we are enjoying our rugby - we talk a lot about enjoying it," Wessels said.

"Aside from the score what I really though was important today was that we responded with the way that we want to play.The Rebels are enjoying their rugby. Photo: Getty Images"Had we lost to the Sharks, we still would have walked away better than we felt last week."

As all eyes now turn to the clash with the Canes, Wessels said the focus for the week would be an internal one.

"We want to have the confidence to come out here and not be too worried about what the opposition is doing," he said.

"We want to have the confidence that if we come out here and do what we can do we can be competitive.

"Our game is certainly getting closer to that but there's still plenty to improve on.

"We are learning to win consistently but winning is hard - Super Rugby is a hard competition - and little errors or little miscalculations can have a big effect."

Dane Haylett-Petty and Ben Daley will be in line for recalls next week, with neither available for the win over the Sharks due to concussion protocols.