Crusaders wary of Rebels team on rebound
Halfback Luke Burgess admits the Melbourne Rebels may have got ahead of themselves before their humbling Super Rugby loss to the Western Force.
The Rebels will look to rebound from that heavy defeat in Perth when they host seven-time champions the Crusaders on Friday night at AAMI Park.
Melbourne got off to their best-ever season start with a record win over the Cheetahs, but crashed back down to earth against the Force, who ran in four early tries.
''It was a disappointing result for us,'' said former Wallaby Burgess.
''You could say that (we got ahead of ourselves). That would be an obvious criticism, but I think the Force had a lot of motivation and they played well.''
The Crusaders have also had a mixed start to the season, recording their first win in three matches when they edged the Cape Town-based Stormers last round and are looking to build some momentum heading into the bye.
Burgess, who will line up against former All Blacks No.9 Andy Ellis, said he expected his team to lift to face the Crusaders.
''It's always great playing the Crusaders because they bring best out in you,'' he said.
''Andy's a fantastic player with a lot of experience and a World Cup winner's medal in his cabinet.
''He gives them a lot in attack and defence.''
Ellis had similar praise for Burgess, with the Crusaders ear-marking the former Wallabies halfback as a danger-man.
''He's got a really good rugby brain,'' Ellis said of Burgess.
''He looks like he's really excited to be back playing footy in Australia.
''We see him as one of the key guys and he links well between his forwards and his backs.
''From my side of things I'm going to have to make sure I control our ruck and not give him too much space.''
Ellis expects the Melbourne Rebels to be stinging from their poor performance, and knows they are tough on their home turf, where his side haven't won in two visits.
''We've talked this week about having a lot of respect for them.
''We really consider them one of the teams to beat.
''When you look at their stats right across their game, and especially in attack, they're lethal.''