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Rebels licking wounds after horror show
March 9, 2014
Melbourne Rebels will find little reason for comfort even in the coldest light of day after their Perth defeat (video available only in Australia)
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Melbourne Rebels players and coaches alike are contemplating what went wrong in Perth, where they were embarrassed if not humiliated by Western Force at nib Stadium on Saturday.

The Rebels had headed to Perth full of confidence and with hopes of challenging for the Australian conference title after their impressive season-opening 35-14 win against the Cheetahs in Melbourne eight days previously. But they left the west coast with that confidence shattered, and with their tails between their legs, after a second-rate effort in being humbled 32-7 by the Force. The Force scored four tries to claim a bonus point inside 27 minutes, while the Rebels claimed their only points after the final siren.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan made six alterations to his starting line-up heading into the Force clash, but he denied the overhaul had upset the team's momentum. Now the Rebels face another week of mass personnel changes after their lacklustre display in Perth; at the very least, they face a week of soul searching ahead of Friday night's match against the Crusaders at AMI Park.

"To be honest, I don't know if there was anyone out there who could walk away with any shred of confidence," McGahan said. "It's a big learning curve for all of us. We're all responsible for the result. We let down the club."

Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham said his team could expect a "kick up the ass" this week.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd with AAP
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