Macqueen close to best 15 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Macqueen close to best 15

Guy Hand 26/01/2011 07:11:11 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Rebels coach Rod Macqueen has given himself just a few more days to solve the riddle of exactly what is the new Super Rugby franchise's best team.

Macqueen will unveil what is likely to be the Rebels' starting side for their opening match in the trial against competition benchmarks Canterbury Crusaders on February 5 at AAMI Park.

His players get one last chance to further their claims in Saturday's much lower-key trial match against the Fiji national team in Ballarat.

Among those in action will be Wallaby centre Stirling Mortlock, who will make his Rebels debut against Fiji after his long recovery from back surgery.

But after that match, Macqueen will turn his attention to picking his best 15 by Tuesday next week for the match against the Crusaders which will give the Rebels a marker as to their competitiveness for their debut Super Rugby season.

"We're telling players where they're standing at the moment... they've got two games to do something about where they stand," Macqueen said.

"It's very difficult, but we've got to be honest with the players.

"There's going to be a few disappointments among the players, but it's a long season and I think we'll be using most of the players anyway."

Macqueen said the following week's match against the Crusaders would not only provide the rugby world with evidence of the Rebels' quality, but also the club's players and coaching staff.

"The first time we'll really know will be when we come up against Canterbury and then we'll have a gauge where we sit," he said.

"All the work we put in the for the last three months is going well - we've got a fitness that we're happy with.

"There's no substitute for on-field performance, and now that's what we've got to look to.

"It is a big challenge and we know that. We're working hard to make sure we're competitive."

The Rebels open their Super Rugby season against the NSW Waratahs on February 18 at AAMI Park.

AAP gh/r

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