Skipper Leota urges Rebels to get physical with Blues

Melissa Woods |

Rob Leota can’t wait to get take on the Blues and wants his fellow Rebels to also enjoy the test.
Rob Leota can’t wait to get take on the Blues and wants his fellow Rebels to also enjoy the test.

Melbourne captain Rob Leota says the Rebels need to up their physicality when they host the Blues after being out-muscled by the Crusaders in their last Super Rugby Pacific outing.

The Rebels were given a reality check of their ambitions in Christchurch with a 39-0 thumping, with the hosts moving off the bottom of the ladder on the back of the big win.

Embarrassingly the entire Melbourne front row was replaced in the 31st minute after being dominated.

After three successive victories and then the bye heading into the Crusaders, Leota said his team lacked intensity.

“We didn’t match them physically, that’s the biggest thing that we took out of the review and we really want to get a response (against the Blues) because we weren’t up to scratch,” the Test back-rower said.

“When you come off a break you’ve got to stay at that level.

“We had a good review in our forwards meeting and we understand that’s not us, that isn’t how we like to scrum … the Crusaders pack had a lot of guys back but that doesn’t take away from us not showing up in that area.”

Rivez Reihana.
The Crusaders’ Rivez Reihana prepares for contact with Rebels forwards in Christchurch. (John Davidson/AAP PHOTOS)

He urged his teammates to get “excited” for Friday’s challenge of facing the Test-laden Blues, who edged Queensland to sit one point behind the ladder-leading Hurricanes.

“The front row for the Blues, there’s a few All Blacks, and obviously the Blues have been going well so it’s about getting up and being excited for that challenge of taking them on,” the 27-year-old said.

Leota said the Reds, who led the Aucklanders until the 75th minute, had provided a blue-print for the Rebels.

“Obviously the Reds were really physical and that’s the biggest thing, especially on defence they really came off the line,” he added.

“What we can take away from that Reds game is being really physical and to be able to do that for the full 80 minutes.”

Melbourne are still sitting fifth with five rounds to play but having never played finals, won’t feel safe until it’s a lock.

“We know how crucial each game is – you see how tight the table is from fourth to 10th or 11th – one point can be the difference to get into that eight so we need to treat every game like it’s the most important,” Leota said.

AAP