Super Rugby
Macqueen admits to Rebels' nerves
ESPNscrum Staff
February 15, 2011

Melbourne Rebels coach Rod Macqueen has admitted to some nerves prior to the franchise's Super Rugby bow against the Waratahs on Friday.

Macqueen's men will have home advantage at AAMI Park and the former Wallabies boss is looking forward to the challenge despite some apprehension.

"We've been training for so long, it's nice to start the competition," Macqueen said."I think everyone's a little bit nervous, it's very special to have the first run out for the Melbourne side - that's a great honour for those players, which brings on the nerves. It's great for rugby in Australia, the players are just looking forward to it now."

Macqueen has been in this position before, as the first coach of the ACT Brumbies when they debuted in the then Super 12 competition in 1996.

"It's nice to understand what this is about - it's important to remember these times, I have reminded the players about that as well," Macqueen said. "It's not just a rugby match, it's something they will remember for the rest of their lives. I go back to the times with the Brumbies, how often they come back, have reunions and talk about the first groups that were there. That's all ahead for these players."

Before they can turn their thoughts to a place in Australian rugby history however the Rebels must deal with the threat posed by a star-studded Waratahs outfit.

"It is a big test for us - the Waratahs are full of Wallabies, they're a side that has played together for a number of years, so they're getting better at what they are doing," Macqueen said. "They deserve to be favourites this year for the Super competition, we've certainly got a lot of respect for them.

"They've got a very good forward pack that's well disciplined and very fast outside-backs. I think we were shown up against the Crusaders with our speed out wide, that's something we have to be really aware of."

Macqueen offered a frank response to questions about the likelihood of the Rebels finishing bottom in the Australian conference and pointed to the early difficulties suffered by the Western Force and Cheetahs in recent years.

"You can understand why they've arrived at that conclusion, the last two sides that have been start-offs have won one game between them in the first year," Macqueen said. "You've got to be brutally honest about these things too, I don't think we're under any illusions from that perspective and we've known from day one when we first came together that it's not going to be easy."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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