Melbourne Rebels scrum half Will Genia believes the key to keeping the Club’s finals aspirations alive all comes down to team defence.
After suffering their second biggest losing margin of the season against the Bulls in Round 14, the Melburnians constricted the Sunwolves to a miserly seven points, with the Japanese side’s only try coming from a fortuitous charge down in the second half.
Although the Rebels are the second best scoring the side in Super Rugby, the Melburnians are the sixth worst team for points conceded.
And with those stats in mind, Genia says the team has focussed on ensuring a much-improved effort in their defence ahead of Friday’s game against the ‘Tahs.
“Defence has been our biggest focus the last couple of weeks,” Genia said.
“We’ve realised we can attack, and we can play, but if we want to be a side that’s going deep into the playoffs, we want to be able to defend well.
“So, keeping a good attacking side like them (Sunwolves) to seven points was pretty impressive.”
While the Rebels kept their chances of a home final alive following last week’s victory in Tokyo, Genia himself has been a talking point this week after sustaining a knock to the head early in the second half and being taken off for a Head Injury Assessment.
However, after following all necessary concussion protocol sand precautions, the scrum half has been declared fit to face the Waratahs.
The 31-year-old says he has recovered well from the hit and is raring to go on Friday night.
“I had a good chat to the doc about it and he said it depends on each individual to how you recover,” Genia said.
“I’m pretty fortunate and pretty grateful that it’s not had the severe impact and I can run around and obviously play this Friday as well.”
Genia’s focus is now firmly fixed on combating the Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday night, as the Rebels look to defeat the ‘Tahs for the first time since 2016.
The Melburnians will be looking to rectify a heart-breaking three-point loss to NSW in Round 10, after leading 20-0 at half time, yet losing by three points.
Genia says the Rebels have a huge amount of respect for the Waratahs and believes the Melburnians will have to learn how to handle the NSW’s side momentum in what looms as a tight contest.
“Well first of all I think they’re a really good team,” Genia said.
“I think if you look at the past three times, we’ve played them, we’ve actually had a pretty handy lead and they’ve come out and adapted really well to the situation and played good rugby in the second half.
“We’ve just got to make sure that when they get momentum, we need to know how to get that back.”