Melbourne Rebels coach pinpoints discipline and laziness
MELBOURNE Rebels coach Dave Wessels will look to address his team's disciplinary issues after their tour of South Africa came to a frustrating end in Cape Town on Friday night.
A string of first-half penalties caused he Rebels to fall behind early against the Stormers at Newlands, eventually going down 34-18 for a fourth successive Super Rugby loss.
Having lost to the Bulls in Pretoria the previous week, the result extended the Melbourne franchise's winless record in the Republic to 15 matches.
Wessels pinpointed discipline and poor set-piece execution as the key areas of the game where the Rebels faltered against the Stormers.
"It's been a perpetual problem right through the whole season," he said about his team's lack of discipline.
"And it's not skill errors ... it's just lazy stuff like not getting back onside.
"I think we gave away seven or eight penalties in the first half and statistically, if you give away more than 10 penalties in a Super Rugby game, you're going to battle to win that game."
The Rebels also struggled with their set piece, winning just more than half of their scrums compared to 87 per cent for the Stormers.
The hosts held a comfortable 24-6 lead early in the second half but the Rebels fought back after making a number of substitutions to their forward pack, with winger Sefanaia Naivalu scoring two tries.
"I thought there was a lot of stuff that we did well in the game," Wessels said.
"We got the ball in hand, we caused them some problems defensively and we were finding some holes."
Despite the disappointment of the South Africa tour, Wessels is still hopeful of pushing for a finals spot with experienced players such as Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty and Ben Daley due to return from injury.
The Rebels sit in second place in the Australian conference, three points behind NSW Waratahs who have a game in hand.
"If we could do that, it would be a hell of an achievement for our club - we won one game last year," Wessels said.
"But we have a lot to learn if we want to be a team that is competitive in the playoffs."
Wessels confirmed Genia would be fit to take on the Crusaders in Melbourne on Friday night with Dane and Ross Haylett-Petty also a chance to play.