Rebels rewarded with more work

An unbeaten start to the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season hasn’t earned the Melbourne Rebels a rest ahead of their showdown with Australian Conference rivals NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.

Rebels Head Coach Dave Wessels is not about to take the foot off the accelerator with the players set for a challenging week at training on Gosch’s Paddock despite coming off two games in a week, which included a round trip to Tokyo.

The Rebels successfully navigated a difficult six-day turnaround from their victory over the Sunwolves to claim a club-record third consecutive win on Friday night against the Brumbies.

But with the Rebels next outing not until Sunday next week, Wessels and his performance staff are not about to reward the squad with an easier week.

“I’m probably thinking the opposite,” Wessels said post-game when asked whether he would rest the players after a difficult week. “We’re probably going to go harder next week.”

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got an eight-day turnaround until our next game.  We had a shorter week but now we benefit next week so we’re going to go pretty hard.

“What we don’t want to do is lose fitness during the season, we want to get fitter as the season progresses, so this was a down week for us in terms of the work load that we took on board but next week will be pretty tough.

“I think that’s important, as pleased as we are with the first three games, we know we want to be competitive come June, and in order to do that we’ve got to get better every week, and this is just one part of that.”

The Rebels sit on top of the combined Super Rugby ladder for the first time in the club’s history courtesy of three successive bonus point wins over the Reds, Sunwolves and Brumbies to start 2018.

Stand-in skipper Tom English paid tribute to the club’s performance staff for the club’s start to the season.

“The pre-season put us in good stead,” English said on Friday night.

“Our strength and conditioning has been super, the best it’s ever been since I’ve been at the club.

“We’re all fighting fit and strong.”

The Weary Dunlop Shield will be on the line when the Rebels hit the road to Sydney to play the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Sunday from 4.05pm (AEDT).