Melbourne Rebels skipper Gareth Delve has pledged his team will pick up the pieces of a near ruinous week in South Africa and restore some pride against the bang in form Cheetahs in Round 7 of the Super Rugby season.
The Rebels were dealt two crippling blows last weekend when they were put to the sword by the Sharks, losing by a record 64-7, and then having two Test players sent home for a post-match fracas.
Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna clashed in the aftermath of the defeat in Durban, and were instantly sent packing by head coach Damien Hill. Their behaviour will be subject to a disciplinary hearing.
But, having grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons last weekend, Delve and Hill are seeking to shift the focus in Bloemfontein on Saturday by regaining some respect with a much improved performance.
"The media fallout over the last couple of days has allowed us to be aware of the level of disappointment felt by our fans and members. We're very sorry for the pressure we have put on everybody back home, but now we have a great opportunity to put that right against the Cheetahs,” said Welsh international Delve.
"We have worked hard on our culture and team spirit over the last three seasons, but we have been criticised heavily because of this massive blip; now we need to concentrate on performing.
"This team are all it in together. I'm proud of the players, and I expected this response. We reviewed the game completely honestly, the response has been fantastic and we are all well placed to put in a good performance.
"In many ways, the Cheetahs will be an even bigger challenge than the Sharks were. They play a more expansive game, and it will be very hard up at high altitude."