The Rebels have suffered their worst ever loss at the hands of the Hurricanes , going down 71-6.
Here’s what we learned from the disastrous display.
1. Rebels’ soft defensive underbelly exposed
Only the Sunwolves missed a higher percentage of their tackles than the Rebels did last week and it was the same old story this afternoon. They missed 40 tackles against the Hurricanes – a number that elite defensive teams can take three games to reach. Add that to the 26 they missed against the Blues and it’s easy to see why they have conceded a pitiful 127 points in 160 minutes of football. Both forwards and backs are shirking the physicality when called upon and that must be addressed before they take on the Chiefs in Round Four.
2. Hurricanes simply the best
As bad as the Rebels were, the Canes have been breathtaking in two enormous wins to start 2017. They are highly skilled from prop through to fullback, are able to attack in loose play but follow structures when required and never shirk defensive work. TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett have this team humming at a level rarely seen in Super Rugby . It will take a spectacular performance to knock this team off.
3. Historic night for all the wrong reasons
The 65-point loss marks the worst in the Rebels’ seven-year history. The Rebels led the Australian conference at one point last year but they will struggle to win a game if they continue to play as they have in the first two rounds. Too many turnovers, too many missed tackles, too many wayward set pieces. It was an awful performance that deserved the final scoreline.
4. The gap widens
The talk of the 2016 Super Rugby season was the difference in class between the New Zealand Conference and the rest of the competition. Having lost to two Kiwi teams by a combined margin of 103 points, the Rebels are proof that the gulf is only getting wider. The Blues – who beat the Rebels by 38 last week – played one man down for 40 minutes last night but were handily beaten by the Chiefs. It’s scary to think what they might do to this Melbourne outfit.
5. Koroibete solid in debut
It wasn’t a night for the Melbourne Rebels’ outside backs but Marika Koroibete was quietly solid with ball in hand. There were signs of the Melbourne Storm star that tore up the NRL but it’s clear he won’t be receiving the ball on a silver platter as he did there.
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