JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Thwarted Rebels fight all the way to season's end

Date

Stathi Paxinos

Nick Phipps of the Rebels tackles James Kamana of the Lions during last week's encounter.

Nick Phipps of the Rebels tackles James Kamana of the Lions during last week's encounter. Photo: Getty Images

THE Melbourne Rebels insist that despite the curtain being brought down on their season in rather an anti-climax in South Africa, there would be no lack of motivation in tonight's game against the Stormers.

The Rebels have had their moments this season, particularly in an exciting midyear period when they narrowly lost to the Bulls, then snatched the upset of the year against the Crusaders and followed up with a one-point win over the Western Force.

There have also been a number of narrow losses where the Rebels showed promise, especially when Wallabies stars Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor have been on the field, which has not been as often as had been hoped because of injuries.

In the end, the Rebels' season has come to a painful end on the back of four consecutive losses, including last week's disappointing performance against the bottom-placed Lions, leaving the Melbourne team 12th with four wins before tonight's game.

The Rebels' season finale in Cape Town will be the final game for a host of veterans who provided a solid foundation for the team that came into the Super Rugby season last year.

Foundation skipper Stirling Mortlock leads the list that also includes fellow retirees Adam Freier, Al Campbell and Michael Lipman as well as Mark Gerrard (Japan), Julian Huxley (France), Tom Chamberlain and Adam Byrnes.

''I spoke to the players about it and there are some mixed emotions amongst the players … but I'm confident it's a positive,'' Rebels coach Damien Hill said yesterday. ''They all want to do well and do well for each other.

''They know that the opportunity that they had last week against the Lions was one that they lost but then the second-half performance had a lot of positives in it and that's what we need to bring from the first whistle against the Stormers.

''It is the final game for a number of players, it also can be the springboard for the players who are staying for our pre-season into next year, so it is important that we finish on a good note.'' Mortlock said despite the daunting prospect of playing South Africa's top-ranked team, ''we're not short of inspiration to get ourselves up to try and play as well as we can for this one''.

''The Stormers are top of the South African conference and second on the ladder. They're an outstanding team and they have very, very strong structures and very, very good defensive line.''

Hill said Luke Jones has an ankle injury and he would decide after yesterday's final training session whether Cooper Vuna or Lachlan Mitchell would start on the wing.

Meanwhile, Rebels breakaway Jarrod Saffy will have more scans on his damaged neck in October to determine his playing future after test results showed a bulging disc had not sufficiently improved during his three-month layoff.

Saffy, who hurt his neck in training in April, saw his neurosurgeon yesterday and received mixed news. ''It was very similar to the last scan,'' he said. ''[The specialist] said it was best to give it another three months … have another look and maybe there'll be a bit more healing and I might be able to get away without surgery …''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
Featured advertisers