Rebles coach bullish after big trial win

Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan says his side’s Super Rugby campaign is gaining momentum after Thursday’s 85-0 trial victory over Samoa A.

“It was a fantastic hit-out for us,” McGahan said.

“It was the first time that a lot of our players have played minutes this year, great to get some combinations and great to get on the paddock for a good 15 v 15 with a lot of our key players playing.”

After fielding an inexperienced squad in their first trial match, an away loss to the Auckland Blues, a near full-strength Rebels line-up combined well to overwhelm an experimental Samoan side in front of over 6,000 fans at AAMI Park.

“We’re really pleased to get through tonight with some positives, get a lot of rust off what we’ve been doing and have a hit-out against some physical opposition,” said McGahan.

“No injuries, fantastic crowd, fantastic advertisement for the Rebels and fantastic for Melbourne rugby.”

The home side ran in 13 tries, many from set-piece plays, which earned praise from McGahan for new attack coach Leo Crowley.

“He’s fitted in really well to the playing group and the rest of the staff, said McGahan.

“It’s an area we have put a bit of emphasis on.

“I think we’ve got some really solid pieces to our game with our defence, our breakdown and set piece.

“And to add that last little part of our attack will be a key plank for us going forward.”

The Rebels will open their Super Rugby campaign next Saturday night when they travel to Perth to play the Western Force.

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