Fiji Time: 12:32 AM on Sunday 26 April

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Hurricanes wary of improving Rebels

Aap
Friday, May 09, 2014

WELLINGTON - The Melbourne Rebels have come of age this year and it's nothing to do with their growing Kiwi connection, says Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith.

The 11th-placed Rebels have become accustomed to the rigours of Super Rugby, Smith believes, and provide a genuine threat to the seventh-placed Hurricanes' title charge when the teams meet in Melbourne tonight.

Smith says the competition's youngest side have understandably taken time to find their feet since being introduced in 2011.

Some heavy defeats dotted their campaigns in finishing 15th, 13th and 12th.

Such losses are becoming rarer and their propensity to topple established teams more frequent.

Smith is in regular contact with former Wellington teammates Jason Woodward and Scott Fuglistaller, who have forged prominent careers at the Rebels.

"They say they've just slowly got a lot better and their training ethic has improved," Smith said.

"It shows on the field. They start producing results and they don't need to recruit star players any more - they can actually take grass-roots players and get them in that professional environment."

Impressive fullback Woodward and flanker Fuglistaller were joined this season by three more proven New Zealand Super Rugby players - prop Toby Smith, centre Tamati Ellison and winger Telusa Veainu.

The Hurricanes blew a big lead last weekend to lose 39-30 to the Waratahs in Sydney, snapping a four-game winning streak.

The loss reminded coach Mark Hammett of the first time his Hurricanes played the Rebels, in 2011 when the newcomers fought back from 17 points down to win 42-25 in Melbourne.





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Fijian accused of killing ex-partner
  2. Smart watch goes on sale
  3. Keeping it sexually safe
  4. Gospel shines
  5. Airline confirms position still vacant
  6. $18m brew house
  7. Lal bags another medal to his list
  8. Natabua, Jasper win Coca-Cola Games
  9. LTA warns bus drivers against incomplete routes
  10. Blues prepare for Ba in Fiji FACT opener

Top Stories this Week

  1. Gang rape Monday (20 Apr)
  2. Bloody Sunday Monday (20 Apr)
  3. Death shatters dream Monday (20 Apr)
  4. The murder of a schoolteacher Tuesday (21 Apr)
  5. Wish for son's death Monday (20 Apr)
  6. Wrong body for burial Thursday (23 Apr)
  7. Unclaimed body laid to rest Tuesday (21 Apr)
  8. Hunt for terrorist Thursday (23 Apr)
  9. Man dies in road accident Sunday (19 Apr)
  10. Rights over freehold land Wednesday (22 Apr)