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Will Genia applauds Melbourne Rebels' team revamp

Simply super: ARU boss Bill Pulver (third from left) and Jordan Hawke from sponsor Asteron Life at the rugby season launch.

Simply super: ARU boss Bill Pulver (third from left) and Jordan Hawke from sponsor Asteron Life at the rugby season launch. Photo: Getty Images

The Melbourne Rebels have acted wisely by clearing out the old guard and starting again in its quest for Super Rugby respectability, Queensland star Will Genia said.

Genia likens the new-look Rebels to the Reds several years before they won the title in 2011. The Reds had gone through a decade of failure and several coaches before a new generation led by Genia, Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane and James Horwill emerged under coach Ewen McKenzie.

Melbourne, which has won its first two trial games this year against NSW and the Hurricanes and faces Queensland on Friday, was completely overhauled on and off field after three seasons of middling results and off-field disruptions caused by poorly considered marquee signings. It now has few ties to the foundation team of 2011 and Genia, who attended Wednesday's Super Rugby launch with representatives from all of Australia's franchises, said the clean out was needed.

''I think it starts with starting fresh,'' Genia said. ''You need, to an extent, clean out a bit of the old [guard] because no matter the quality of the player, there's always going to be scars of what's been done before. So if you can bring kids in, or bring in new players who haven't had the experience of the cultural issues before or the problems of losing, they come in with fresh enthusiasm and fresh spirit and just want to do well.

''You've got to bring in the right people in terms of the organisation off the field as well as bringing in the right playing group to buy into the culture that the coach is trying to develop.

''From the conversations I've had with Higgers [Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham] and from what you see in the trials, they definitely look as though they're heading in the right direction.

''I think there's a lot of similarities between them now and where the Reds were at a few years ago.''

Wallabies coach McKenzie said he had noticed a change in the Rebels since the ''cagey operator'' Tony McGahan took the coaching reins. ''Tony is a good operator. He's coached in some serious environments before and I know culturally he gets it,'' McKenzie said.

''I've been down [to Melbourne] and had a look and I was very impressed with what he has organised … I don't think any one's confused about the intentions.''

Genia said the Rebels were not disadvantaged by lacking superstar power, with only Higginbotham currently regarded as a possible starting Wallaby. ''I don't think you need [superstars],'' Genia said. ''One of the things about not having players that are very well recognised is that you fly under the radar … you can surprise teams and catch teams off guard, get big wins here and there and push yourselves towards a finals berth.''

He said developing an elite group within a team ''comes with time in the saddle''.

''Players will get used to Super Rugby, what it takes to perform, understand the right routines of what they need to play well and that will just come in time,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the Rebels have called former Australian under-20 halfback Jock Merriman into their squad with Nic Stirzaker sidelined with an ankle injury. Merriman will act as cover for starting No.9 Luke Burgess and inexperienced back-up Ben Meehan.

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
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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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
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
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
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