Rebels confident of retaining pair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels confident of retaining pair

Roger Vaughan 12/04/2011 05:44:07 PM Comments (0)

The Melbourne Rebels are confident they can retain Danny Cipriani and Nick Phipps as they try to build on their encouraging debut Super Rugby form.

The Rebels, who are coming off two wins and the bye, will welcome back several players from injury for Friday night's away match against the Highlanders.

Cipriani is understood to be attracting interest from European clubs, while the Waratahs could target Phipps to replace their France-bound No.9 Luke Burgess.

While Rebels coach Rod Macqueen would not comment on speculation linking his club to Wallaby James O'Connor, he was happy to talk up the potential retention of Cipriani and Phipps.

"This time of year, you get all those reports coming through," Macqueen said before Tuesday's training.

"We are talking to some players, obviously we've got to think about succession planning.

"I think you'll find Phipps and Cipriani are pretty secure, they're pretty happy with where they are and we're pretty happy obviously with the way they're playing at the moment."

The Rebels will welcome back lock Hoani Macdonald, flyhalf James Hilgendorf and inside centre Cooper Vuna as they prepare for a tough four-game run.

After the Highlanders, they face Auckland, the Waratahs and the Reds.

"It's going to be a pretty difficult period for us," Macqueen said.

A big focus for the expansion team remains improving their slow starts to matches.

"We're doing it on purpose, so we can come from behind and organise the character for the side," Macqueen said with tongue firmly in cheek.

Vice-captain Gareth Delve said the bye had come at a good time for the Rebels and was not concerned they might have lost some momentum from their two wins.

"We've had seven really tough rounds of rugby ... it gave us a chance to freshen up," he said.

"The boys were a bit achy, a bit sore and we get a few back as well.

"The cavalry will come in now and lift the spirits around the club, lift a bitof energy."

Delve added that after a tough initiation into Super rugby, it was time to see how the young club dealt with a taste of success.

"We've been on a bit of a good run so this is a sign of our mental strength now, to see how well we are when things are going good, as opposed to just recovering from adversity," he said.

"We need to show we can be consistent."

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