After clinching the first win outside of Australia’s shores in Rebels’ history, the coach is calling for another milestone – back-to-back wins
Tony McGahan wants to build on his team’s first round win against the Crusaders in Christchurch and hopes for a big crowd at AAMI Park to support the Rebels in their battle with the reigning champions, the Waratahs. McGahan is aware of the challenge ahead of his team but is confident in that “every one has the ability to win against everyone this season”.
Tomorrow the Rebels will face a wounded team on the rebound from an unexpected first round loss. The challenge for Melbourne is similar to what they encountered last week as the Waratahs are chock-full of Wallabies the same way the Crusaders were full of All Blacks.
Co-captain Scott Fuglistaller spoke about the determination amongst the squad to not repeat previous mistakes, where the Rebels have twice now one their first game of the season only to come back to earth the following week with a heavy loss.
“It’s a tough challenge ahead of us as they’ll be hurt after a loss last week in front of their home crowd,” said Fuglistaller, “they’ll have a point to prove”.
Talking about the big units in the Waratahs’ backrow, Fugistaller was confident his team could stop them “across the board they have big bodies, but we will not concentrate on individuals and will focus more on the collective unit.”
The Rebels have now scored first round wins in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and keeping their concentration is paramount for the New Zealand born backrower, aiming to provide a calming influence on the team.
“We can’t get carried away. Last year we got too much ahead of ourselves with the first game win and (losing the second game) really hurt our season right from the start. (It) stopped the momentum that we built from the pre-season to that first game. We don’t want to compare ourselves with last year, this is a new season, but we have to learn form the errors of the past.”
Slightly contradicting his co-captain, McGahan was clear that his team would not dwell on last season’s start. “We haven’t talked anything about last season – we have moved on. We used it as a review process, but last season hasn’t been mentioned at any time.”
Talking about the opening round win the coach, nicknamed ‘Dumper’ in his playing days for his ability to tackle and dump much bigger opponents, said that “the best thing was that it was an away win in New Zealand! But we did let a lot of little things slip, some opportunities that we didn’t take. We have look at them.”
For McGahan, the key to the win was obvious. “The biggest thing for us was staying in the contest and not putting ourselves in the position to lose it when it was really tough. We stuck in and we didn’t give away cheap points and were good enough to hold on and get a result at the back end. This was a good win in a tough environment in front of a really good side away from home.”
Dumper’s guys are ready to tackle and dump another bigger opponent. The Tahs are warned.
The Melbourne Rebels will face the New South Wales Waratahs on Friday at 7:40 p.m. at AAMI Stadium. The match will see a historic curtain raiser between two gay inclusive teams for the first time in Victoria when the Melbourne Chargers will play the Bingham Cup holders Sydney Convicts.