The Melbourne Rebels won’t be blaming an arduous touring schedule for their loss to the Highlanders.
Melbourne has had trips to Perth, South Africa and Japan in the opening month of the Super Rugby season, racking up more than 30,000 kms in travel before facing the defending champions.
While the Rebels let the Highlanders run away with the match late, stand-in captain Sean mcMahon said fatigue wasn’t as much a factor as the quality of their opponents.
“Definitely not going to blame it on the travel,” he said.
“(There was a lot of) kicking…we were defending for a long period of time, if anything was going to have us run out (of steam) it would have been that.
“I don’t think anyone was running out of steam they were just playing good, hard footy.”
Rebels coach Tony McGahan was optimistic despite the result, lauding his side’s bravery in defence.
“I thought they played like a side that had won a championship,” he said.
“They really squeezed us. I thought we were brave, through we defended really well, thought our scrum was good.
“So we had some good things there, we’ll take a lot out of it.”
McGahan lamented the side’s early phase errors, that ended a number of their attacking opportunities before they had a chance to get going.
“Certainly you’ve got to give yourself a chance to play when you’re playing a good side and to turn over possibly 10 first-phase opportunities…you’re really no chance.
“That took a lot of petrol out of us.”
The Rebels will monitor injuries to Jonah Placid (shoulder), Tom English (knee) and Tamati Ellison (hamstring) during the week.
Melbourne travels to Sydney next week to take on the Waratahs on Sunday afternoon and McMahon is confident they can rebound.
“No one ever wants to lose a game but you know the great thing about our team is we always get around each other and we always focus on turning around and worrying about next week,” he said.
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