Timely boost ahead of the Sharks
Tom English believes last week’s set piece win in the dying minutes against the Brumbies has given the Rebels forwards a boost of confidence going into Saturday’s game against the Sharks.
Rebels back Reece Hodge booted the Rebels to their first victory of the season last weekend after the forwards won a scrum penalty against the feed with four minutes remaining at AAMI Park to seal the 19-17 win over the Australian Conference leaders.
The challenge isn’t about to get any easier against the notoriously strong South Africans but English has backed the forward pack and emphasised the need to apply scoreboard pressure from the start.
“We need to look to tick the scoreboard over at every opportunity we get,” English said in Durban.
“South Africans are generally good kickers and they’re going to take those penalties and before you know it they’re nine points ahead so for us it’s taking those opportunities.
“We saw what our set piece can do on the weekend with that scrum in the last minutes of the game so we need to back our set piece, the South Africans pride themselves on that so it will be a good challenge up front.”
English said that the victory over the Brumbies has given his side plenty of confidence for their trip to South Africa.
A destination that the Rebels are yet to taste victory from 11 previous games since the club’s Super Rugby inception in 2011.
The closest the Rebels have come to a win on South African soil was the club’s last outing in Durban in 2015 when they went down to the Sharks by four points.
“First and foremost was getting that first win gives us a lot of confidence going into this week and we just have to back our systems and improve on the things that we’ve spoken about,” English said.
“For us, that’s just good defence and looking to turn over the scoreboard whenever we can because we can’t afford to let them slip away.
“They play a different style of football and one that we’ve been looking at all week so I think we found a few areas that we can look to attack.
“It’s good to get away and get tight as a squad on tour but we’ve got a job to do and that’s win.”
The Melbourne Rebels take on the Sharks at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Sunday morning from 3.30am (AEST).