AAP

Not many Super Rugby coaches could claim having no Test players in his line-up is a good thing but Melbourne's Tony McGahan is hoping it works to his advantage.

Taking over from Damien Hill, McGahan's Rebels squad is in the unusual position of having no Wallabies playing in the Test against New Zealand on Saturday or picked for the Spring tour to Europe and the UK.

Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham would have been a certainty for selection but needed shoulder and hip surgery which prematurely ended his season.

Halfback Nick Phipps and back Kurtley Beale have departed for NSW while James O'Connor is clubless and suspended from Wallabies selection for off-field misdemeanours.

Following his first week with his full squad, McGahan said it was a bonus to be able to spend almost four months moulding the side when, normally, representative players wouldn't be available until mid-January.

"We're lucky in that respect. It certainly gives us a great opportunity to bed things down and get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible," McGahan said.

"The Reds, Brumbies and Waratahs have the crux of Wallabies players and won't have that opportunity so we need to take advantage of it."

Higginbotham hasn't returned to full training, with his hip restricting running.

McGahan, who was the Wallabies' assistant coach under Robbie Deans and enjoyed success with Irish club Munster, said the Rebels would focus primarily on the basics.

It's been an area that the Test side are also intent on improving as they too strive to deliver consistent performances.

"We've been working really hard on our fundamentals which is our real basics - catch-pass, tackle and on our breakdown work. That's been a focus of real repetition this week.

"If you want to stay in the contest longer and get those results and the wins, that's what you need - you need the basics to fall back on."

He said it was too early to set any goals for the 2014 Super Rugby season when they will look to improve on their 12th-placed finish.

"It's a bit of a new start here with a new coach, new chief executive, on-field staff and player personnel.

"We don't want to be limited by numbers or a cap. We're just working as hard as we can."

Former Test skipper John Eales was guest speaker at their regular Weary Dunlop lunch and they even managed to get the Queenslander to sign up as a member.

"I'll be supporting the Rebels in all their games next season, apart from when they play the Reds," Eales said.