Wednesday, 18 February 2015

After clinching the first win outside of Australia's shores in Rebels' history, the coach is calling for another milestone: "a back to back performance is what we need to do"

Tony McGahan -
photo Melbourne Rebels
Tony McGahan want to build on the first round win against the Crusaders in Chirstchurch and wishes that a big crowd will be attracted to AAMI park to watch the game against the Super Rugby reigning champions, in a seasons where in his words: "every one has the ability to win against everyone".
Co-captain Scott Fuglistaller spoke about the concentration and the lesson learned for the past two seasons' start, where the Rebels also scored first round wins to crash eventually in the second game.
Tomorrow the Rebels will face a wounded team that lost unexpectedly the first game and that will have almost all wallabies in the XV, as last week the Rebels faced an almost all blacks team: "tough challenge ahead of us, they'll be hurt after a loss last week in front of their home crowd", said Scott Fuglistaller, "they'll have a point to prove". Talking about the big units in the Waratahs' back row and the strategies to stop them Scott said: "cross the board they have big bodies, but we will not concentrate on individuals and will focus more on the collective unit." the way to contain the opponents, in the opinion of the co-captain is simple: "first up tackle, get the set pieces right, stop them at the source, stop their flow of game", and specifically referring to his role, he said that he have to: "bring calmness and leadership to the team".
The Rebels scored R1 win in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and keeping the concentration is paramount for the New Zealand born backrower, the mantra is "don't get carried away. Last year we get too much over 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 shall 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 win in round 1, the coach nicknamed dumper in his playing days for his ability to tackle and dump much bigger opponents, said that "the best thing was an away win in New Zealand, but we let a lot of little things slip, some opportunities that we haven't took, we have look at them", he than continued saying that: "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, stick in don't give away cheap points and good and able enough to hold on and get a result to 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 an historical curtain raiser between two gay and inclusive teams for the first time in Victoria when the Melbourne Chargers will play the Bingham Cup holders Sydney Convicts.
By Unknown on 17:51 No comments so far More

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Departing Rebels's co-captain Scott Higginbotham spoke before his team season’s debut

Scott Higginbotham
Scott Higginbotham in 2013

Starting the Super Rugby 2015 season in Christchurch is as hard as it can be, but Rebels’ co-captain said his team are up for the challenge: “very exciting going into the first game of the season, the guys took a lot out of the NRC and hopefully we can show it in the first round”, in what he candidly admits to be a “very tough game”.
Asked about the start in New Zealand and facing the runners up of 2014 season, Higgers laconically stated that ”there is never a good time to get them there” and then expanded further “they’ve been up there (on the top) for long time, when you play them first or last, it doesn’t matter, it will be an hard game”.
The wallaby backrower sees his team with more chances in 2015: “with players stepping up in leadership roles hopefully we are going to see a lot better football and playing the whole 80 minutes instead of being in the contest for the 70s, we want to play the whole game”, and to this, in his opinion will contribute the added depth and competition for a starting role: “in the back row we have 6 or 7 blokes who are more than worthy to start, second row we have a lot more depth, as well in the first row and in the backs, where we have had some great signings last year. Harris and Shipperly have been fantastic since coming in town”.
Asked about his last season in Australia, Higgers answered: “I want to tick some boxes, play my hundredth Super Rugby game, and take it one week at the time”.

The Rebels will be first off the blocks on Friday afternoon in Christchurch, kick off at 5:35 p.m. AEST. Later the same day the first Aussie derby with the Brumbies hosting the Reds, when defending champions Waratahs will wrap up the round on Sunday the 15th when they’ll host the Force at Allianz Stadium.
By Unknown on 20:53 No comments so far More

Friday, 30 January 2015

Does the world really need a rugby nines competition?

The answer is plainly no. Rugby Union and Rugby League should bury the hatchet and come together  and open the sevens competition to the league athletes.

Rugby Sevens is the perfect sport where the adaptation' degree from Union and League players in switching codes is similar. A pure union player need to increase his, or her, speed to play the fast paced game, a pace that is often already present in league, at least how it is played in the NRL. A union player should learn how not to throw his/her body into every contest to avoid giving a critical numerical advantage to the opposition, a skill often practised by the league players.
Conversely a league player in order to convert successfully to sevens need to understand how to retain the ball, but will be challenged by less opponents, so the learning will be easier, the tactics are also less complicated than the XV game and for a league player positioning will be less complicated than in switching to union.

If the league will converge to sevens as a speed pre-tournament showcase, instead of the no future nines experiment, will provide top athletes a chance to participate in the Olympic Games, an honour that rugby players of both code have not had for too long time.

Ideally 2016 pre-NRL tournament will be a sevens tournament and it will give the possibility to some of the huge talented players of the code to make themselves noted for Rio.

I believe that playing sevens will nor diminish the value of league nor attract too many players to move to XV, on the contrary, having a common sport to confront may attract union players to try league and will finally give the opportunity to see champions of the two codes play against or with each other.

By Unknown on 23:03 No comments so far More

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Harlequin's questfor third title in a row will start March 21st

The highlight of the Dewar Shield's season will be the Grand Final rematch between Harlequin and Box Hill to be played as a curtain raiser to the Rebels Bulls game at AAMI Park Saturday 6th June, Queen's Birthday week-end.
The season will kick off on March 21st with double defending champions Harlequin hosting Melbourne Uni and Box Hill travelling to last season semi-finalists Moorabbin. Tricky first game for the other semi-finalist of 2014, Melbourne, who will play away at Footscray. The clash between Endeavour Hill s and Power House will round up the first day of play. Southern Districts will have the first bye and kick off their season on Round 2 when they’ll visit Endeavour Hills.
The Victorian competition will stop on Easter week end, April 4th, and will end on August 15th with the Grand Final, first 4 teams will participate to the play offs with the same format as 2014, i.e. first will play second in the major semi-final and 3 will play 4 in the minor SF. Looser of major SF and winner of minor SF will square off to decide who will meet the major SF winners in the Grand Final. Venues for the play offs will be announced at a later stage.
The full draft available here
By Unknown on 13:44 No comments so far More

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The tighthead prop extends his contract with the Super Rugby franchise

In a press conference in front of iconic Sir Weary Dunlop statue, the player greets the journos with a huge smile and a spanish "bueno!" that summarises his sentiment toward the announcement of his contract's extension.
At 28, Weeks does not see this move as his last grasp of Super Rugby, but is more than happy to stay: "I think I have still some more years left in me, but I can see myself finishing (my career) at the club, we got an amazing foundation already laid in the past years, but now there is stability, and that was one of the biggest things that kept me onboard".

Weeks is realistic about the Rebels' position in the competition, but also optimistic about the future: "there has been a fair bit disappointment in the past 4 years, but I'm very excited (about the future), there are young guys like Jones and McMahon that have just shone on the international scene, and a lot of youngsters coming back of the NRC, where they have had a taste of success, the excitement is around the club", he continued.
Weeks has tasted international rugby this year and is looking forward to continue his adventure in the green and gold "with the upcoming world cup, I just want more, and this is a huge driving motivation and the next step up in my career."
As a forward he has touched first hand the troubles of the Wallabies' scrum : "I think in Australian rugby we don't value the scrum enough," Weeks said "spectators don't see it as an exciting part of the game, but in reality it is one of the biggest parts in international rugby, so we have to pay much more attention on it," he added, "every front rower in Australia want to improve our reputation in this fundamental, we have worked very hard to do so, but if anyone is going to criticise Australia, they are going for the scrum".

Laurie Weeks share Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's opinion that the Australian front rowers are too honest at scrum time: "Absolutely, we are very honest were it comes to sport, but when it comes to scrummaging, everyone who played in Europe will say that it is all about who cheat the best".

Arrived from the Queensland Reds in 2011 for the inaugural Rebels season, the Sydney born prop is on of the two left foundation members of the club, the most capped Rebels at the club and one of the most loved players from the fan, to the point that he is nicknamed "the people champ".
By Unknown on 20:06 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Super-Sefa back for the Rising, Wykes  to lead the Spirit

Both semi-finals will be a replay of round 4 encounters. On Friday September 11th the Perth Spirit flew east to Melbourne to be heavily defeated by the Rising by 20 points. Not to mention, the Rising got a bonus point in that game, they got a bonus point in every match they played in the regular season.
Compared to the XV that played the Spirit on Round 4 Sean Hedger’s Rising have made only 3 changes, whyle David Wessels has made a wholesale of changes for the Spirit.

Melbourne Rising

Sefanaia Naivalu
One of the Rising's changes is forced by injuries: Telusa Veainu’s season ended with an hand injury, two by international duties, with Luke Jones and Sean McMahon called by the Wallabies for the End of the Year Tour. To replace the two internationals the Rising will call up on local talent with Harlequin’s duo Sione Taufa and OJ Noa in the third row along with Lopeti Timani.
On the bench another local talent form the dual Dewar Shield champions Harlequin, Angus Hamilton, will hope for a Buildcorp NRC debut.
Also on tour Tom English, who started on the bench on round 4 as well as in the last regular season match played by the Rising.
Stability is one of the keys of Rising's success, with very few changes done every week by Hedger to his starting XV; the careful introduction of new players in a well oiled line-up has provided fresh blod when needed.

Perth Spirit

Sam Wykes
On the contrary Perth have named a team completely changed from the XV that took the pitch at AAMI back in September and also from the team that travelled to Dubbo to face the NSW Coutry Eagles.
Wessels has injected experience in his team with Western Force regulars Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes in the scrum and will have a formidable 9-10 combination in Prior  and Holmes.
Force's Stander will start at blindside flanker and he will definitely use his experience to try to pressure his less navigated opponent.

The teams

Both teams named for Saturday's semifinal looks strong and powerful, one of the winning points of the Rising has been the strenght of the scrum and the speed of locks and flankers to re-gain the ball launch the attacks from the incredibly fast backs. The new backrowers, Taufa and Noa know each other very well and have played a key role in Harlequin's success, will they be up for the challenge at National level?
I think so. But the expectations are for a much tougher game, it's finals time.

Melbourne Rising:

15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Rennie Lautolo-Molimau (Endeavour Hills)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sione Taufa (Harlequin)
6 OJ Noa (Harlequin)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), 17 Fereti Sa’aga (Melbourne Uni), 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), 19 Pom Simona (Harlequin) (Vice Captain), 20 Angus Hamilton (Harlequin), 21 Luke Burgess (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels), 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), 23 Martin Naufahu (Foostcray)

Perth Spirit:

15 Dane Haylett-Petty (Cottesloe)
14 Luke Morahan (Kalamunda)
13 Ammon Matuauto (Associates)
12 Solomoni Rasolea (Cottesloe)
11 Marcel Brache (Perth Bayswater)
10 Zack Holmes (Associates)
9 Ian Prior (Nedlands)
8 Alex Rovira (Associates)
7 Kane Koteka (Wests Scarborough)
6 Brynard Stander (Nedlands)
5 Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater)
4 Sam Wykes (captain) (Wests Scarborough)
3 Oliver Hoskins (Cottesloe)
2 Robbie Abel (Cottesloe)
1 Pek Cowan (West Scarborough)

Reserves: 16 Harry Scoble (UWA), 17 Joe Savage (Palmyra), 18 Chris Heiberg (Perth Bayswater), 19 Kieran Stringer (Cottesloe), 20 Richard Hardwick (UWA), 21 Justin Turner (Associates), 22 Davis Tavita (Nedlands), 23 Christian Joubert (UWA)
By Unknown on 18:08 No comments so far More

Sunday, 19 October 2014

With the last round of the first stage played over the week end the Top League team have been devided in two groups for the second stage of the tournament.
The first 4 classified in the first stage from each of the two groups have been assigned to the group that will contest the final win, the second four will compete to avoid relegation.
Each team will start the second phase with 1 to 4 bonus points corresponding to its final position in the first stage.

Group A:
With the first four position already fixed Panasonic Wild Knights topped the group thanks to a large win against NTT Communications Shining Arcs and overtake Toshiba Brave Lupus, who lost at home against eventual third ranked Yamaha Júbilo.

Group B:
More drama in the group B, where Kinetsu Liners missed the cut despite a comfortable win against Coca-Cola Red Sparks, Toyota Verblitz went through in fourth position thanks to a 13- 12 win away against Ricoh Black Rams.
Both team ended with 22 points, but Toyota had a better points difference (+12) than Kinetsu (+4)

Championship Group:

NTT Shining Arcs (A4)
Canon Eagles (B3)
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers (B1)
Suntory Sungoliath (B2)
Toshiba Brave Lupus (A2)
Toyota Verblitz (B4)
Panasonic Wild Knights (A1)
Yamaha Jubilo (A3)

Relegation Group:

NEC Green Rockets (A6)
NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes (B8)
Kintetsu Liners (B5)
Kubota Spears (A5)
Coca-Cola Red Sparks (B7)
Toyota Industries Shuttles (A7)
Munakata SANIX Blues (A8)
Ricoh Black Rams (B6)
By Unknown on 18:43 No comments so far More
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