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Five key talking points for the Rebels heading into Super Rugby Pacific 2022

Thu, 30/12/2021, 3:29 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Matt To'omua scores a chip and chase try against the Waratahs during round five of Super Rugby AU

The Melbourne Rebels come into 2022 with plenty to prove under coach Kevin Foote as they begin life without Marika Koroibete.

After missing the Super Rugby AU finals, Foote stepped into the role on an interim basis for Dave Wessels as the Rebels struggled with their Kiwi counterparts.

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They will be hopeful they can remain in Melbourne for the entire season, forced to vacate Victoria on multiple occasions with little notice over the past 18 months.

With this in mind, Rugby.com.au looks at the five key talking points for the Rebels heading into 2022.

1.Locked in

Kevin Foote has been given the time to implement his game plan for the Rebels after being signed as head coach for 2022.

The Rebels have built a very impressive coaching staff to surround and assist him, with Nick Stiles brought back home to serve as a Director of Rugby.

Stiles has already been hands-on in the role helping their scrummaging and having his wealth of knowledge and experience onboard is crucial for developing their next generation of stars.

Along with this, they've signed Ryan Martin as his assistant coach, someone who had a big impact during his short stint in 2020 and will bring an exciting brand of Rugby to Melbourne.

2. Life without Marika

The Rebels will need to find a replacement for Marika Koroibete fast as the barnstorming winger heads to Japan.

Koroibete nearly led the club in every stat and was a deserving winner of their Players' Player.

Andrew Kellaway's rise in form is timely and he'll need to bring his outstanding from the end of 2021 if they wish to compete.

They will also need the returning Matt Philip, Rob Leota and Trevor Hosea to step up to give them the necessary go-forward to ensure quick ball to Kellaway, Gordon, Hodge and co.

3. Super Round

Super Round looms as the perfect stage for the Rebels to shine as the rugby world converges on Victoria.

It reflects the launch back into Trans-Tasman action and looms as the perfect launch heading into the finals.

They need some crucial wins over Australian opponents to keep them in touch before they host the Crusaders to finish off the round.

If they somehow manage to knock off the Aotearoa champions, it would make them one of the teams to beat and would build major support for the side.

4. Taking the keys

From what we saw at the back end of the season, the Rebels have seemingly given Carter Gordon control of the offence.

The young flyhalf excelled in Trans-Tasman, with his chip and chase against the Chiefs showing he has the confidence and skill set to take over a game.

With Reece Hodge and Andrew Kellaway set to form an exciting back three with Lachie Anderson, he'll have the experience and firepower outside of him to put his hand up for further honours with a strong season.

5. Matt mix up

With Gordon set to step into the flyhalf role, it likely signifies Matt Toomua's permanent move to inside centre.

Since returning from Leicester, the 31-year-old has largely been forced to move to flyhalf despite being a consistent member of the national set-up at centre.

However, injuries and other players shining has seen Toomua seemingly on the outside looking in for Wallabies selection.

On his day, Toomua is one of the best in the country and it's easy to forget he was the first-choice 12 for the opening Test of the season so it'll be interesting to see how he bounces back in 2022

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