Fiji Time: 11:21 AM on Monday 25 May

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. Uncertain future
  2. Size doesn't matter for Labalaba
  3. Villager questions equal distribution of lease money
  4. $200m bill
  5. Ryan's attention turns to Rio Olympics
  6. Three women in custody over alleged vehicle theft
  7. US Mercy visits Fiji
  8. Erectile dysfunction
  9. Pageant kings take centre stage
  10. Knows no limits

Top Stories this Week

  1. Heroes of the night Friday (22 May)
  2. Dream run Tuesday (19 May)
  3. Tuwai wins top award Tuesday (19 May)
  4. Payout for team Thursday (21 May)
  5. Top cop foils robbery attempt Friday (22 May)
  6. Ratu Naiqama suspended Friday (22 May)
  7. Behind closed doors Tuesday (19 May)
  8. Probe on officials Wednesday (20 May)
  9. Sevens celebration Wednesday (20 May)
  10. Ratu Naiqama apologises Friday (22 May)