Mortlock says Rebels will stand up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortlock says Rebels will stand up

Guy Hand 02/02/2011 05:04:17 PM Comments (0)

New Melbourne Rebels captain Stirling Mortlock says being competitive from day one of the club's Super Rugby debut season is the aim under his leadership.

Not surprisingly, former Wallabies skipper Mortlock was given the top job at the fledgling club ahead of their final trial match against the Crusaders at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

And the 33-year-old, whose recovery from a serious back complaint has ensured him the captaincy, has set the bar at testing every opponent they face during the season - starting with their debut against the Waratahs on February 18.

"There's a bit more holistic approach about how we want to go about things," Mortlock said.

"There's a lot of guys who are extremely competitive and driven and the aim for us as a group is to be competitive.

"We want to do Melbourne proud. Off the pitch we want to get as much connection with the community as we can."

History is against the Rebels with the last Australian entry into the competition, the Western Force, winning just one match in their 2006 debut season and most new clubs struggling on debut.

Coach Rod Macqueen admits the task will be difficult, but made easier by the strong on-field leadership of Mortlock and vice-captain Gareth Delve, the Welsh international.

It gives the club both a backs and forwards leader with the duo having years of captaincy experience - Delve most recently with English club Gloucester.

"He's got a new lease of life, Stirling. He's been playing injured for the last couple of years," Macqueen said.

"Hopefully we've got the new model now.

"The last (Australian) team in Super Rugby won one game, so we're not going into this competition under any delusions from that perspective.

"We've really set our sights on being a competitive side from the very first game."

Mortlock has successfully come through his first competitive hitout since his back problem was diagnosed in May last year.

He made his Rebels debut intheir trial match win over Fiji in Ballarat last weekend.

Macqueen will name what is almost certain to be his best possible side to play the Crusaders this weekend.

"It'd be fair to assume the majority of that side would be the one (to play the Waratahs), but we've also said to the players it's certainly not set in stone," he said.

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