Rebels own attack their focus
March 19, 2014
The Rebels will be focusing on their own attack instead of worrying on Beale and Folau © Getty Images
Forget Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale, the attack Melbourne Rebels are focusing on is their own. The Rebels are keenly aware of the dangers posed by Folau, Beale and their backline cohorts when they play the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, but they're even concerned more about fixing their own spluttering offence after back-to-back losses to Western Force and the Crusaders.
"We certainly understand the threats ... and there's also [ex-Rebels half-back] Nick Phipps, who's playing really well and directing things well," Melbourne coach Tony McGahan said. "If we worried about those seven guys there than we're missing the point. We need to worry about ourselves and the things we need to tidy up ourselves."
Melbourne have also lost veteran prop Laurie Weeks, who suffered concussion in their loss to the Crusaders, with Paul Alo-Emile his replacement. The Rebels were puzzled by the amount of penalties incurred by their scrum against the Crusaders.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika reportedly had strong words for referee Jaco Peyper's handling of the scrum in his side's loss to the Brumbies, and Peyper will officiate again on Friday night. Cheika also met Peyper and SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray through the week.
McMahon said he wouldn't be seeking a pre-game meeting with Peyper himself, but he expected his scrum to be treated equally.
"We're looking forward to getting a fair run of it," he said. "The Waratahs had Jaco Peyper last week and he's obviously had a bit of heat on him with regards to the Waratahs coaching staff so we're looking to make sure that we get an even rub of it and it's back to neutral and whoever's doing what on the night will get refereed and not what happened last week.
"We've been through three trials and two games and I don't think we've been penalised very much at all on both sides of the ball. We don't think we will have any problems this weekend."
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports