Melbourne coach Tony McGahan has his eye on the main prize, refusing to get carried away with his team’s move to the top of the Australian Super Rugby conference.
Ahead of their clash with the Blues in Auckland on Saturday, McGahan said he was keeping the achievement of moving one point clear of the Brumbies in perspective.
“To be top of the conference for a week, is that a big achievement where someone like the Chiefs are on top of the competition for 10 weeks? … if you think small, you will probably end up being small,” McGahan said.
“As a club and where we are as a playing group, that’s (leading the conference) not a big focus for us.”
With only the top Australian side on target to win a playoff berth, McGahan said it was important his side remained in control of their destiny.
He described their match against the Blues as “must win”.
“For us to continue in the competition, we’ve got to win every week and there’s probably 10 or 11 sides in that same boat,” McGahan said.
“The next few weeks, before June Test series (against England), will weed them out … so we have to stay in control.”
While delighted to get the bonus-point win against the Cheetahs last round, McGahan compared his match video review to the movie, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, although he admitted the reference to the 1966 Clint Eastwood flick might have been lost on the young Rebels’ players.
“That probably summed things up pretty well,” McGahan said.
“There was some things that were really positive and things we need to fix and some things plain ugly that we don’t want to see again.”
The Blues anchor the competitive New Zealand conference but that doesn’t mean the Rebels are planning to take them lightly, particularly playing at Eden Park.
They had a 23-18 win last round against the Sharks.
“The Blues have been in good form and they’ve been good in the games that they’ve won and been close in the ones they haven’t,” McGahan said.
“They’ve made some really good strides over there and they seem to be playing for each other.”
The Rebels will go into the match without veteran prop Laurie Weeks, who is out for a month with a hamstring injury, with Irishman Jamie Hagan getting his first Super Rugby start.