Rebels riding high after Brumbies upset
March 29, 2014
The Melbourne Rebels proved too strong for the Brumbies (video available in Australia only)
The Melbourne Rebels feel they've got their faltering Super Rugby season back on track with their hard-fought win over the Brumbies.
The 32-24 victory on Friday night stopped a losing streak at three and according to lock Luke Jones, gave the team some much-needed confidence ahead of New Zealand games against the Highlanders and champions the Chiefs.
"We've got two tough games on the road so the confidence we can draw from that game will be key," said Jones. "If we can we win the next two then that definitely puts us back in that finals contention."
Known more as a tackle-hungry backrower, this season Jones is making a name for himself as a ball-carrying lock. Against the high-flying Brumbies, the 22-year-old aimed up for a game-high 13 runs. He has managed to relegate Wallabies training squad member Cadeyrn Neville to the bench since the start of the season.
"Tony's always liked my ball carries and wanted me to make sure I was leading the pack in that regard," Jones said. "My focus this week was to truck it up and try to get as many metres as I could and I think it paid off."
The Rebels weathered an early Brumbies storm for the opening 20 minutes, when they only had 13 per cent of territory and 21 per cent of possession. Jones said his side kept their composure and their structure, knowing they would still have gas left in the tank after such a tough pre-season.
An earlier version of the Rebels may have wilted under the pressure but new coach Tony McGahan had made his mark - which was noted by Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen who played under the coach at the Wallabies.
"I think there's obviously a real good spirit in that team, but Tony McGahan-coached sides are sides that are hard at the ball and they're good, defensive, disciplined sides," Mowen said. "Perhaps in previous years in that first period, if you had that sort of ball against a Rebels side down here, then you get 20, 25 points. To only get a try and three points (from a penalty) spoke loads about the spirit in that side, and that's a Dumper (McGahan) coached team to me."
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