Super Rugby reaction
James O'Connor keen to boost Rebels' cause
March 2, 2013
James O'Connor stood up for Melbourne Rebels under the heaviest of New South Wales pressure © Getty Images
James O'Connor is determined to help Melbourne Rebels break the frustrating pattern that has seen them squander a half-time lead in their past two Super Rugby matches.
The Rebels host Queensland Reds in round four, the visitors Reds coming off consecutive wins over New South Wales and the Hurricanes. Melbourne head into the fixture after losing to the Waratahs in Sydney - losing 31-26 after blowing a 16-6 half-time lead - and to the Brumbies at The Stockade, where they led 13-12 at half-time only to ship 30 unanswered points in the second half.
O'Connor, who captained the Rebels for the first time against the Waratahs, said the team had chances in the second half only for their execution to let them down.
"Obviously I'll go and have a look during the week at my individual performance, but all I'm thinking about at the moment is moving forward with our team and fixing those little things and playing a full 80 minutes against the Reds," James O'Connor said. "We had a lot of belief during the week, we thought we played a great 40 minutes against the Brumbies but we didn't play clinical that whole 80 (minutes)."
The Rebels opened the season with a win over Western Force, but their subsequent second-half capitulations have frustrated coach Damien Hill.
"The game last week was very similar, and when the pressure was on and we had to convert those little decision-making skills we lost our composure a little bit," Hill said. "We're going through an annoying period at the moment and we're losing our composure when it's most important, hopefully it will come through against the Reds."
The Waratahs produced another stirring comeback, but this time, against the Rebels, they achieved victory
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel