Meakes: Competitiveness amongst backs a necessity for finals charge

· Super Rugby

Melbourne Rebels centre Billy Meakes believes a team first attitude is a must in the Rebels’ charge towards the finals, even if it means sacrificing personal performances.

After starting in the Rebels’ first eight games, Meakes was dropped to the bench in the Club’s Round 12 match against the Hurricanes, but the centre responded strongly, scoring a try in only 20 minutes of game time.

Recounting that experience after re-earning his starting position against the Reds last week, Meakes says beginning in the replacements isn’t something he liked experiencing, but fully understood as the team strives for the right on-field chemistry.

“Being a professional player, it’s something you never want to hear,” Meakes said. “But given the quality of our squad and the depth of our squad, I think it’s always going to happen that you’re sharing the load a bit there.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s part of the process, and whichever way the team has to go to win, then that’s the way we’ve got to go about it.”

After breaking a three-game losing streak with a win over Queensland last week, the Rebels will now look to continue rediscovering the form which saw the Club start with a 5-2 win-loss record after their first seven games.

Meakes believes the signs of improvement are there, and the benefits of the side’s hard work at training should pay off come game day.

“We feel like we’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of weeks,” Meakes said.

“With the Hurricanes game, in patches, we started to find our identity as a team.

“Training has been great… and collectively as a group, we’ve just been having fun. We feel like we’re pretty tight as a group and we’re really enjoying ourselves.”

With only five games remining in the 2019 season, the Rebels find themselves in the exact same position as this week’s rivals the Bulls, sitting second in their respective conference, stuck behind first place by only a point.

And with only seven points separating first and fourth place in the Australian Conference, Meakes says grabbing victory over the Bulls will be vital for the side’s chances to secure a top position in the Australian Conference.

“Getting a win regardless is going to be extremely valuable,” Meakes said.

“The ladder is quite tight in all the conferences, for us it’s about trying to get a good performance together.

“We’re trying to get back to the way we can play and if we’re playing the style of rugby we want to play, then we’ll be pretty hard to beat.”

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