Rebels inching closer to breakthrough road win: Coleman

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rebels captain Adam Coleman believes the Rebels are inching closer to a breakthrough win in South Africa, despite falling to the Bulls overnight.

The Rebels were right in the contest trailing 21-10 with 10 to play but without Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty, who both suffered head knocks in the first half, the Loftus Versfeld crowd eventually willed the Bulls home.

It was an improved performance on the poor showing against the Jaguares a week prior and with a Friday night clash against Stormers awaiting, Coleman believes the franchise can break new ground.

"I think we're very close and we've spoken about the opportunity we have on this tour," Coleman said.

"And we still have another shot at it.

"The boys are hurting now and I really want to see the boys turn that hurt into motivation and put in a good performance."

Coleman's coach Dave Wessels was far more pleased with the loss to the Bulls than he was after falling to the Jaguares, citing a lift in intensity as his reason for optimism.

"For me, personally, we're a team that's learning and we're hoping to get better every time we play," Wessels said.

"The win for us today was just the intensity and love that we played with - within the team - which wasn't there last week.

"(The Jaguares loss) hurt a lot more than it does today."Amanaki Mafi and the Rebels now head to Cape Town to take on the Stormers. Photo: AFPThe Rebels are still just three points behind the Waratahs in the race to the top of the Australian Conference, which remains their top priority.

"We are still very competitive in the Australian Conference which is really what we are aiming to do," Wessels said.

"If we can win the Australian Conference for a team that only won one game last year it will be a hell of an achievement.

"We're an ambitious team and we're working really hard to get better and to win games of rugby.

"We're trying to move from last to first, which is where everybody wants to finish up.

"And we've certainly had some successes but we're certainly under no illusion that the road is not going to be a straight line.

"We are going to have some wins and we are going to have some losses along the way."

On the injury front Wessels is unsure as to whether Coleman and Haylett-Petty will be available for the clash with the Stormers, while both Jordan Uelese and Anaru Rangi were forced off with injury, too.