Coleman out of clash with Waratahs

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Melbourne will be without Adam Coleman for their clash with the Waratahs, coach Dave Wessels confirming the star lock has suffered an adductor strain.

Coleman was injured early in the second half of the Wallabies' third Test loss to Ireland, slowly walking from the field moments after the tourists crashed over the line for their only try of the match.

Scans have since revealed an adductor strain, though Wessels said his captain would be a likely starter next week against the Reds.

While Coleman and Will Genia will be unavailable, the rest of the Rebels' Wallabies contigent are ready for a must win showdown with the Waratahs at AAMI Park.

"They're on a massive high because it was a hell of a series," Wessels said.

"That's one of the best Test series that I have seen in a long time - it came right down to literally the last pass of the gameColeman will likely return next week against the Reds. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"It was genuinely competitive, tough and I thought our boys really acquitted themselves well.

"I thought Dane was excellent, Marika was excellent, Adsy, Hodgey - I think it's been a special few weeks for them but it's nice to have them back with us.

"The guys that have been with us over the last three or four weeks have probably trained harder and been more committed than I've seen during a similar June break.

"It's a real testament to those guys and I think it's because everyone is excited about the week."

A win over the Waratahs would put Melbourne back on top of the Australian Conference with two matches remaining, prime position for a franchise first finals campaign.

"We have the opportunity to do something quite special and we certainly want to try and reward the fans who have the opportunity to potentially get into a playoff first time at our club," Wessels said.

"It will be pretty special if we can achieve that.

"We know that if we play well we can challenge any team in this comp so our focus is just on that."Michael Hooper will miss his first Super Rugby game in six years on Friday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Rebels were on track to challenge one of the best teams in the competition - the Waratahs - last time they met, only to capitulate in the second half.

It was a match Wessels pulled plenty from, vowing to not make the same mistakes twice.

"We were leading in Sydney in the first round of this contest - I learnt a lot of lessons from that game," he said.

"I said immediately after the game when we were playing the way we wanted to play and had energy to play the way we wanted to play, we were going well in that game.

"We just fell away more than anything based on the week I had put together for the boys - I probably pushed them too hard.

"Combine that with the incredible heat that we had that weekend - it just wasn't a good outing for us.

"The good thing is that we learn from those things as a group and certainly this week guys are feeling we have had a good break."

It'll be a new look NSW side which travels to Melbourne, injury forcing Michael Hooper to miss his first Super Rugby match in six years and a possible suspension hanging over the head of Israel Folau.

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