Australian rugby must support each other: Wessels

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rebels coach Dave Wessels says Australian rugby needs to be more willing to "support each other" and put the Wallabies first as debate rages over the Brumbies' Test trio.

The Brumbies named David Pocock, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa in their starting XV for Sunday's clash with the Sunwolves despite Rugby Australia requesting rest for the trio, who will now be forced to play in the first Test off a six day turnaround.

While he made the point of not wanting to speak for the Brumbies, Wessels left Will Genia out of his side to face the Blues on Saturday, despite the star halfback being passed fit to play.

"If there was no Test match next week Will would have played," Wessels said.

"I definitely would have liked him to play but it's easier because Michael Ruru has played two of the best games that I've seen him play in the last two weeks.

"He's working on some stuff in his game and it's definitely made a difference to his performance.Dave Wessels has left Will Genia out of his 23. Photo: Getty Images"That's the first piece - we're very comfortable with Mike there - but the second thing is that I feel strongly in Australian rugby we need to change the conversation a bit and support each other in various ways.

"It's a bit of give and take and we need to start living by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery anymore.

"That's what is going to change the outlook for all of us in the long run."

Wessels was the first to concede the two situations had their differences but highlighted the Wallabies first approach as one which needed more emphasis.

"If the Wallabies go well that's good for everybody in Australian rugby," he said.

"What I certainly don't want to be seen to be doing is implying to the Brumbies or anybody as to how they should behave.

"That would be very full of myself to do that.Wallabies come first for Will Genia. Photo: Getty Images"All we've tried to do is make the decision that is best for our club and our relationship with the Wallabies."

The absence of Genia is eased by the strong form of Ruru but Melbourne would have been tempted to play their star halfback in what shapes as a pivotal clash.

Having snapped a losing streak through the middle of the season and claimed two straight wins, a result in Auckland and a loss for the Waratahs would leave Melbourne atop the Australian Conference heading into the June break.

Wessels is well aware of the situation at hand and said his team had hit their straps as they strive to tie the franchise record for season wins.

"For us, as a team, the game has come at a good time," he said.

"We've come out of that rough patch and guys are feeling confident.

"We're able to handle everything that's thrown at us.

"Our ability to play for 80 minutes is growing and that gives us confidence going into tomorrow."

The Rebels face the Blues in Auckland on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:15pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and radio.