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Top six and no more excuses for Rebels


Stathi Paxinos

All wound up: Hooker Ged Robinson.

All wound up: Hooker Ged Robinson. Photo: Getty Images

THE Melbourne Rebels believe they can no longer use the excuse of being a new Super Rugby team for a lack of success. And they go further than that, with Rebels hooker Ged Robinson declaring that playing finals this season is a realistic goal.

''We want to win it. That's our goal and if you go in with anything less than that you're selling yourself short,'' Robinson said. ''We want to make the top six.''

With the Port Elizabeth-based Southern Kings this year replacing the Lions as the fifth South African team, Rebels coach Damien Hill agreed with Robinson's sentiments about the Rebels' place in the competition.

''The Southern Kings are the new team, this is our third year and it's time to step up,'' Hill said.

''There certainly is a good level of confidence but no one is kidding themselves. They know what they are up against in terms of the quality and standard of the competition … confidence is a really good thing to have and the team's got it but it needs to be backed up with consistent performances.''

The Rebels are a changed team from last year having lost a host of experienced and accomplished players, such as Stirling Mortlock, Mark Gerrard and Julian Huxley, who helped establish the club as the competition's 15th team in 2011.

Hill said the injection of new energy into the Rebels from the likes of established Wallaby Scott Higginbotham, as well as young players who will all be pressing for a first-grade spot this season, will make the difference to the club's ambitions of improving on its previous finishes of last (2011) and 13th (2012). He said the benefit of younger bodies had already been seen with more intensive training during the pre-season.

''There were 13 players over 30 last year, this year we've got four and that does make a difference … The players we've had in the past have done a fantastic job in terms of setting up the club and achieving the wins we did achieve in the first couple of years but I think the changes we made are appropriate for where the club is now, so the injection of youth and enthusiasm has come at the right time,'' Hill said.

Robinson has seen his role in the team also transform during the off-season. He is the No.1 hooker, and with the retirement of former Wallaby Adam Freier and the departures of Luke Holmes and Heath Tessmann, he faces new challengers for the position with the recruitment of Japanese international Shota Horie and emerging talent Pat Leafa.

''I suppose when I first came [to Melbourne] I was the young guy trying to fill the boots and now I'm the older guy … both the hookers are pushing me and I'll help them along,'' Robinson said.

The Rebels play the NSW Waratahs in their first pre-season game in Hobart on Saturday and the Hurricanes in Geelong the following Saturday, with the first competition match for the Rebels on February 15 against the Western Force at AAMI Park.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs WAL 0 02:00Twic
NZL 0vs FRA 0 06:00MilS
IRE 0vs ARG 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 0vs SCO 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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