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Nu'u living the dream as Rebels hunt for first win

Wed, 23/03/2022, 7:56 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Waratahs hosted the Rebels at the SCG.

Whilst the results are yet to go the Rebels' way, centre Ray Nu'u is confident they are close to a breakthrough, relishing the chance to live out his Super Rugby dream.

Nu'u has been a revelation since making the move across the Tasman to Melbourne, starting in their last four games after making his debut off the bench in round one.

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“I’m really enjoying it, it’s a lot of fun,” Nu’u told reporters. “This time last year I was working and training at the same time so to do it full-time is pretty awesome.

“I’m really grateful to every day come in and train, that’s the dream to do something you enjoy and love so it’s great.”

The 23-year-old made his name in the NPC for Southland and Otago, establishing himself as their inside centre heading forward despite the presence of Matt To'omua.

Nu'u was grateful for the opportunity to play full-time alongside the likes of To'omua, Reece Hodge and Andrew Kellaway, eager to pick their brains as he looks to improve his distribution and professionalism.

“His professionalism, it’s awesome to work with a guy who’s played for a long time, he’s very wise,” Nu’u remarked on what he learnt from To’omua.

“For me coming over, I wanted to grow my game so it’s pretty awesome to pick his brain as well as Hodgey and Kells.

“We’ve got International players here so there’s a standard we have to meet and it’s good for me because I just want to be better as a player and person so it’s pretty cool to be around guys like that.”

The Rebels are coming off a narrow defeat to the Waratahs, preparing to face the Fijian Drua on Friday in Melbourne.

The Drua claimed their first ever win in Super Rugby against the Victorian-based side, who gave up a 14-0 lead on the Sunshine Coast.

Nu'u called for greater consistency to deal with the flashy nature of the Drua, confident they can turn around their season.

“I reckon there is (added motivation) against Fijian (Drua), I reckon we played 30 minutes of Rugby, we’re looking to play 80 minutes,” he added.

“We’ve just got to stay connected. They’re a team that can attack from everywhere on the park, they can throw a lot of offloads and the razzle stuff so we’ve just got to be connected and stop them trying the offloads to prevent their go-forward.

“I’m pretty positive about this team. It has been hard but we’re definitely improving…there’s a good feel around the camp.

“For me, I’ve just tried to slowly come together and build connections and I think we’re knowing how we play so it’s coming.”

READ MORE:

TEAMS: All the news for round six

STAY THE COURSE: Lote backs Vunivalu

RETURN: Tate ready to return for Reds

The Rebels have opted for wholesale changes for Friday's clash, elevating James Tuttle to the starting side after a strong showing against the Waratahs.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Maiava is in line for his debut off the bench, with Josh Canham and Tamati Ioane ruled out with concussions.

The club also confirmed they expect Wallabies backrower Rob Leota (Hamstring - Round 10/11), Pone Fa'amausili (Calf - Round 11/12) and Trevor Hosea (Foot - Round 12/13)to be fit towards the back end of the season.

REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff, Matt Philip, Josh Hill, Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells (c), James Tuttle, Matt To'omua, Glen Vaihu, Ray Nu'u, Stacey Ili, Andrew Kellaway, Reece Hodge

RESERVES: James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Rhys Van Nek, Daniel Maiava, Sam Wallis, Joe Powell, Carter Gordon, George Worth

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