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
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