Billy Meakes backs Melbourne Rebels to bounce back against Waratahs

“Credit to the Stormers, they came out all guns blazing at the end of a big tour. They played some really good rugby and unfortunately we just weren’t on.”

Meakes said his side didn’t meet their own standards for physicality and responding to the relentless aggression from the Stormers.

A repeat display against the Waratahs will surely see the Rebels fall to another loss and come right back to the field in their conference, but Meakes has backed his side to get back to their best against NSW.

“It’s more of a lesson for us,” Meakes said.

“You can’t expect to rock up to any game in Super Rugby and get a win. It’s an extremely hard competition and we just didn’t prepare as well as we did in the past, and on the back of that we got touched up.

“In hindsight it was a really good chance [to extend our lead]. We let that one slip. But if you look at the season in hindsight, if you said at the start of the season we would be 5-3 [win-loss] going into the Tahs game, we would take that.


“The boys, no matter what, will be ready for next week and be ready to go.”

The Waratahs are expected to be without star back Israel Folau after he was stood down by Rugby Australia and the club for his social media posts this week.

The Rebels hope to have winger Jack Maddocks (knee), lock Matt Philip (heel) and hooker Anaru Rangi (ankle) all available for selection after missing the Stormers game.

But even with Folau sidelined, the Waratahs still have a host of weapons and they will ask some major questions of the Rebels.

“I have no worries about us being ready, we will be fine getting ready for the Tahs game, but we have to be really diligent early in the week,” Meakes said.

“They are a really good football team and they’ve had an up-and-down season, but they will be coming off the back of the bye so I think we’ll have a cracker of a game at the SCG.”

The Rebels play the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday at 7.45pm.

Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.

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