Waratahs unfazed by 'hybrid' Rebels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs unfazed by 'hybrid' Rebels

Ben Horne 17/02/2011 11:56:50 AM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs have scoffed at a claim that competition newcomers Melbourne Rebels could introduce some radical tactics in Friday's Super Rugby opener.

Rebels chief executive Ross Oakley raised eyebrows by suggesting coach Rod Macqueen's team will play a 'hybrid' brand of rugby that incorporates skills from AFL and rugby league.

However, Waratahs coach Chris Hickey invited the Rebels to unveil all their tricks on Friday night at AAMI Park.

"I don't see it as a significant threat," said Hickey on Thursday.

"They might be playing AFL or rugby league but we're turning up to play rugby union.

"I'm sure they would have had the opportunity to look at incorporating some things from AFL and league, I'm sure that's part of how they've tried to develop their game.

"But at the end of the day we still play under rugby laws, it's a game of rugby with 15 blokes and that's how the referee will referee it."

Waratahs captain Phil Waugh said Melbourne's talk was irrelevant to his side's preparations.

Former NRL star Andrew Johns has been helping the Rebels midfield run lines which are used in league. He has been working especially with new convert and his former Knights team-mate Cooper Vuna, who is expected to play a key role for Melbourne as a hard-running inside centre.

Waugh also said he hopes the Rebels put Johns' kicking tuition into practice and test his outside backs.

"Hopefully they do kick a bit to us and we get the ball in Drew (Mitchell) and Kurtley (Beale) and Lachie's (Turner) hands as much as possible," Waugh said.

However, he was adamant the Waratahs would not under-estimate the Rebels.

"From the outset I think Melbourne have been underestimated in their abilities this season and we certainly expect them to be very good.

"Our focus is on us and if we match them physically with control, it's really in a way irrelevant what they throw at us."

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