Rebels to ring changes after heavy Super loss to Reds

Melissa Woods |

Rebels coach Kevin Foote is set to make changes after the Queensland Reds out-paced his forwards.
Rebels coach Kevin Foote is set to make changes after the Queensland Reds out-paced his forwards.

While defending marquee recruit Taniela Tupou, Melbourne coach Kevin Foote has forecast line-up changes following their disappointing Super Rugby Pacific loss to Queensland.

The Rebels’ two-match win streak was snapped in emphatic fashion by the Reds, who ran in eight tries en route to a 53-26 victory at AAMI Park. 

Tupou was primed for a big match against his former club and was brought back into the starting front row but failed to make a dent and was replaced after 33 minutes along with fellow prop Matt Gibbon.

Foote pointed out post-match that it wasn’t only Tupou, with the entire Rebels forward pack unable to keep pace with the Reds at the breakdown.

“Their attack is fast – I think Les (Queensland coach Les Kiss) has put in a breakdown there that’s really quick and if you don’t slow it down, it’s just going to put fatigue into you and fatigue into you and fatigue into you,” Foote said.

“And then if you compound that with turning the ball over cheaply it’s just more fatigue to you.

“They attacked well and we didn’t slow their ball down.”

Foote said prop replacements Sam Talakai and Isaac Aedo Kailea, who scored a 49th minute try to give his side a chance of catching the Reds, did their duty.

Melbourne closed the gap to 33-19 but then errors gifted the Reds two further tries, ruining any chance of a fightback.

Wallabies great Tim Horan called the Rebels pack “soft” after their round-one loss to the Western Force and Foote expected them to be called out again.

“It’s not Taniela, it’s disappointing from all of us, really disappointing but it’s not ‘Nela but all of us … in particular our pack,” Foote said.

“Our pack’s been called out before and they’re going get called out again because they just came through us.”

The Rebels, whose future in the competition remains in major doubt due to the club’s financial struggles, next face a massive away clash in Wellington against the unbeaten Hurricanes.

Foote said there would be personnel changes.

“It’s round four and I’m quite clear about the guys who are ready to go and the guys who are off the pace.

“We’ve got to get guys out there who are ready to go from minute one.”