Hill happy Rebels will give their all

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill knows full well that if he has to re-apply for his current job at the end of the season that a win over the British & Irish Lions would be a very welcome addition to his cv. [more]

Hill happy Rebels will give their all

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill knows full well that if he has to re-apply for his current job at the end of the season that a win over the British & Irish Lions would be a very welcome addition to his cv.

But more than that, Hill reckons a victory over the tourists would be a defining moment in the brief history of the fifth Australian Super Rugby franchise.

“For Melbourne and the majority of these players it's the biggest game of their careers. For most it will be a once in a lifetime experience and we're approaching it as such. I guarantee we'll leave nothing out there,” said Hill.

“Enthusiasm's been great and they know exactly what the challenge is ahead of them and they're all looking forward to it. We're taking the approach that we still want to be true to the Rebels' style of play and we also know that we need to be exceptionally clinical.

“We also need to be a lot smarter with our decision-making if we're going to have a chance. That's how we're approaching it because there aren’t too many chinks in that Lions' armour.”

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The Rebels became the first privately owned rugby franchise in Australia in 2011 and are in their third season of Super Rugby. They recently beat the Stormers and Waratahs back-to-back at home, but will be without their two strike forces behind the scrum, Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor, as well as Wallaby No 8 Scott Higginbotham.

“There's always a chance and having Luke Burgess this week adds to our experience at this level of football. He'll bring a degree of composure to the team and with his experience, he knows exactly what he's going to come up against,” added Hill.

“He's played in Europe and there'll be no surprises for him and that calmness and experience will provide some assuredness to the younger members of our squad. Bryce Hegarty's into his ninth game of rugby, but he's learning week by week and I think you can see by his performances that he's definitely got something to build on.

“The decision-making has improved and it's going to have to be on the money on Tuesday night.”

Hill wants his side to express themselves without the worry of picking up Super Rugby points, but knows the enormity of the task that faces his team.

“Just look at that back three, with Kearney and Zebo, it's a very good attacking back three, especially on the counter-attack. But that's the challenge as well – we've got a number of players on this team who are aspiring players for the Wallabies in the next couple of years.

“There’s no better arena to be in to test those skills than against the Lions. We want to test ourselves against the best and this is a great opportunity to do that.

“The more games our younger players get to play together, the better. Week to week they've been building, they had a drop-off against the Brumbies and they're looking to pick it up against the Lions and again against the Highlanders.”

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