Rebels 'gutted' but looking for positives
The Rebels are looking to salvage the positives from one of their best performances of the Super Rugby season despite it being a gut-wrenching loss to the Brumbies.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan rated it as their best attacking performance of the year, while their defence at AAMI Park was first-rate.
But Melbourne still fell short by the score of 30-22, which could prove crucial to the fading finals hopes.
Melbourne fullback Mike Harris said his teammates were “gutted” after losing a match that they had acknowledged was the biggest in the club’s six-year history.
Playing his first match since a round one quad injury, Harris felt the loss was particularly painful given what was at stake.
“The guys were gutted because the boys put it all on the line,” Harris said.
“I thought our defence was pretty superb for most of the game and you could see the level of commitment and that’s what we pride ourselves on.
“We played well but we didn’t get the result we wanted.
In the run to the playoffs the Rebels face two of the New Zealand contenders in the Chiefs and Crusaders away from home, as well as taking on the Western Force, Stormers and Reds.
Harris said there was still self-belief they could match it with the front-runners.
“We’re not dropping our bundle,” he said.
“We don’t have the easiest run in but if we keep that commitment and style of play we will knock a few teams off.
“You’ve got to get back on the horse and we’ll do that next week against the Chiefs.”
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Harris is a noted sharp-shooter however inconsistent five-eighth Jack Debreczeni continued the Rebels goal-kicking against the Brumbies, missing three kicks.
Former Wallaby Harris said he hadn’t been able to do enough kicking practice with his quad injury but could resume the duties in their next game or two.
The Rebels are set to be without try-scoring winger Cam Crawford, who suffered a broken wrist.