Alarm bells for Rebels after second thrashing

Julian Savea of the Hurricanes fends off Marika Koroibete of the Rebels.
Julian Savea of the Hurricanes fends off Marika Koroibete of the Rebels. ROSS SETFORD

WHEN you miss 40 tackles it's no surprise you lose by 65 points.

The Melbourne Rebels have a lot of work to do to salvage what is fast threatening to become a trainwreck of a season.

A horror start to their 2017 Super Rugby campaign continued on Saturday with a 71-6 hiding by the Wellington Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.

That's now 127 points conceded in the first two weeks.

And if Lopeti Timani's right knee injury is any chance of keeping him out for a period of time then further alarm bells will continue to ring.

True, the Hurricanes are the defending champions and were fresh off a 66-point belting of the Sunwolves last week, but the Rebels still did themselves no favours - as was the case in their 56-18 first-up home loss to the Auckland Blues last week.

The Rebels completed 72 of their 112 attempted tackles.

To compare, the Hurricanes went at 87 of 96.

You just can't give a team of the Hurricanes' class such a break.

But that only told part of the story.

The Rebels set piece was a disaster once again.

The Melbourne side lost a staggering three scrums against the feed despite the starting forward pack actually outweighing that of the Hurricanes.

Summing up the team's woes in this regard was Reed Prinsep's 57th minute try which followed the Rebels losing their own scrum on their defensive 22m line.

The lineout was just as bad, losing four balls off their own throw.

And the worst moment here was when, after making a rare venture in to enemy territory in the 54th minute, the throw in to the lineout wasn't straight.

The Rebels actually conceded less turnovers (14-19), but when they did they hurt - like the 77th minute intercept try to Ngani Laumape.

Funnily enough, Melbourne scored the first six points of the game - Reece Hodge penalties - and looked like a capable team.

But once Nehe Milner-Skudder scored the first of his three tries in the 17th minute it looked like men playing against boys.

The Rebels were also disappointing in their two pre-season trial losses to the Western Force and Queensland Reds.

And after next week's bye to lick their wounds, they face another daunting encounter against the Chiefs at AAMI Park.

Timani's knee was given a big test by the medical staff after he hurt it late in the first half, before he limped off in the 51st minute.

In his Super Rugby debut Marika Koroibete had eight carries, but turned the ball over three times.

The Hurricanes scored 11 tries in total, with Laumape and Vince Aso the other multiple scorers.

News Corp Australia

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