Super Rugby reaction
Damien Hill laments 'panicked' Rebels
February 23, 2013
Melbourne Rebels' Gareth Delve goes up highest to win a line-out. Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies, Super Rugby, Melbourne, February 22, 2013
Gareth Delve and the Rebels failed to fire in the second half against the Brumbies © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Kurtley Beale | James O'Connor
Tournaments/Tours: Super Rugby

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill believes his players panicked during the second half of his side's loss to the Brumbies on Friday.

The Rebels went into half-time of their Super Rugby round two match against the Brumbies with a one-point lead, but they failed to trouble the scorers in the second half as the Brumbies showed their class to produce a 30-13 victory.

Hill described the Rebels' opening half at AAMI Park was "outstanding", but he said that panic set in during the second 40 minutes as the Brumbies took control of the contest.

"I thought the first half we stuck to the game plan and played with intent," Hill said.

"The breakdown was good, the set-piece was good, the defence was great and we got the ball to space. There were opportunities we could have capitalised on better, but we were in the game and it was a good first half. But the second half we seemed to go away from that a little bit and a little bit of panic set in. There were opportunities. We should have played field position and chose not to and against a team like the Brumbies that is going to result in what you saw."

The loss was further soured for the Rebels with news of injuries to star backs Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor.

The Brumbies overwhelmed the Rebels in the second half

Beale hurt his troublesome left shoulder, and Hill said the Rebels would wait for scans in the coming days before providing a prognosis.

Beale, however, remained hopeful of facing New South Wales Waratahs, saying the shoulder had partially dislocated before popping back in but it had happened twice previously without him missing any rugby.

O'Connor suffered concussion early in the second half and failed to return to the field.

Hill does not believe O'Connor's ailment will keep the Wallabies star on the sidelines against the Waratahs in round three, saying he even wanted the Rebels No. 10 to return to the field against the Brumbies.

"He got concussion and there are protocols in place for these things which we need to stand by," Hill said.

"It was in the doctor's opinion that he wasn't right and that is what the protocols were. It was in the best interests of James not to let him return to the field."

Hill remains optimistic despite the loss and the injuries to two of his star players, and he believes his side is not too far off the best in the Australian Conference.

"[The Brumbies] are better than us after today's effort, but I don't think there is too much in the Australian provinces to be honest," Hill said. "The thing you admire about the Brumbies is they have a different way of playing and their mistake level is less than the opposition. They are always in with a show."

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