Rebels aim to lift for clash with the Crusaders

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 23:15 11/03/2014
Tony McGahan
MICHAEL DODGE/ Getty
REBELS COACH: Tony McGahan.

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Melbourne Rebels lock Hugh Pyle says a brutal match-review session has left the players in no doubt about what's required in Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders.

The Rebels (1-1 win-loss) suffered their first defeat of the season when they were upset 32-7 by the Force in Perth last weekend.

And Rebels' coach Tony McGahan made sure his men were immediately exposed to footage of the horror show.

''We weren't happy with how we played, especially considering how we played against the Cheetahs,'' Pyle said yesterday.

''We watched the game together afterwards and we were fairly honest with our feedback. We were fairly brutal in saying what we did wrong.

''It was fairly harsh. We all know it wasn't good enough.''

Pyle says while taking on the Crusaders (1-2) is a daunting prospect, the Rebels have a good record against the seven-time champions.

''I'm expecting something fantastic on Friday,'' Pyle said of the clash at AAMI Park.

''We beat them here in 2012 and we had a really close one over there in 2013.

''They're one of my favourite teams to play against because they are the benchmark.''

McGahan said the post-game review, which was completed before the flight home, gave the Rebels some clear insights.

''We were able to watch the game, review it, and leave it there  n Perth and really focus on the Crusaders,'' he said.

The Rebels last week made six changes to their starting 15.

McGahan refuses to blame the upheaval for the Perth loss.

''We've got a lot of players who haven't played much professional rugby, let alone Super Rugby,'' he said.

''Trying to find out and trying to put players in, there's not a perfect time.

''We didn't want to wait until we were in an injury crisis to put guys in untested.

''It certainly wasn't the six guys who came on who let us down.''

McGahan said there would be more changes to his side this week.

Winger Tom English is a likely inclusion after overcoming a virus.

Skipper Scott Higginbotham faces a tough night against All Blacks' No.8 Kieran Reid.

''Kieran Reid is a superstar of New Zealand rugby and Scott Higginbotham has been doing a fantastic job here at the Rebels,'' McGahan said.

''They're a high-quality team that's draped in success.'' 

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