Super Rugby
Rebels have riches in the back-row
May 9, 2015
Rebels 42-22 Blues (video available in Australia only)

Back-row riches will give Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan a headache he's happy to have ahead of their Super Rugby clash with Queensland. The Rebels rolled the Blues 42-22 at AAMI Park with a dominant performance by their back-rowers Scott Higginbotham, Jordy Reid and Colby Fainga'a the difference.

The win was their sixth for the season which set a new club benchmark. They next travel to Brisbane to take on the hapless Reds, who were 58-17 losers to the Crusaders.

Melbourne went into the match missing one of their best performers young Wallaby flanker Sean McMahon, who had a hip injury, although he will be available next round. But Fainga'a, the younger brother of Wallaby and Reds twins Anthony and Saia, stepped up to the mark causing plenty of damage around the ruck both in attack and defence.

Reid also pulled off a game-high 18 tackles as he threw himself around the field while skipper Higginbotham was his usual aggressive self, also picking up a try. McGahan said the energy of 24-year-old Fainga'a, who scored a first-half try, and 23-year-old Reid kept his team in the match early on.

"If they weren't on the field we could have been in a lot more trouble," McGahan said. "We've got some really good players who are contributing heavily."

He praised the patience of the pair, particularly Reid who has only had 17 Super Rugby caps since joining the club in 2013.

"He's worked exceptionally hard and you can see how keen he is to do well for the team with the way he puts his boy about," the coach said. "The way he hasn't contributed when he hasn't been picked has given him a great respect within the group."

Higginbotham's try was his 30th in Super Rugby, breaking the record held by former Wallaby Owen Finegan as the most by a forward. The 28-year-old, who will leave the Rebels at the end of the season, won the praise of his coach.

"It's a pretty exceptional record to get when you look at some of the players Scott has overtaken," McGahan said. "You need some durablity and skill and toughness to be able to work your way through and find the tryline."


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