5 talking points ahead of Super Rugby Round 5

    2018-03-15 09:21

    Hong Kong - The Melbourne Rebels will aim to preserve the only 100 percent record in the competition when they face the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.

    READ: A loss, a win, and two too close to call in Round 5

    Here are five talking points in Super Rugby this week:

    1. No rest for rampaging Rebels

    Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels is in no mood to go easy on his players, despite their perfect start, promising to work them harder in training this week ahead of their showdown with Australian rivals, the Waratahs, in Sydney on Sunday.

    "I'm probably thinking the opposite," Wessels told the club website, when asked if he would rest players who had only a six-day turnaround after travelling back from Japan for last Friday's win over the Brumbies.

    "We're probably going to go harder."

    "What we don't want to do is lose fitness during the season, we want to get fitter as the season progresses," said Wessels.

    "As pleased as we are with the first three games, we know we want to be competitive come June... and this is just one part of that."

    2. Crotty blow for Crusaders

    Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says the absence of centre Ryan Crotty with concussion issues will be a big loss when the champions face the Highlanders in New Zealand's fierce South Island derby on Saturday.

    "He is huge for us," Robertson said of the New Zealand international, who left the field early in last week's chastening 29-19 loss in Wellington after a collision with a team-mate.

    "He is an on-field coach, passionate and plays well in every big game that we have had. So we will miss him."

    The reigning Super Rugby champions only lost one match in the whole of last season, but are looking to avoid a second defeat in a row when they face the 2015 champions in Dunedin.

    3. No Bull, it'll take time says Mitchell

    Ex-All Blacks coach John Mitchell heads back to his former stomping ground of Hamilton on Friday with a plea for fans of the Bulls to be patient as he attempts to restore the team to its former glory.

    The most successful South African Super Rugby side were champions in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and will face the Chiefs, a club Mitchell coached way back in 2001.

    "It's a team effort, we have to turn it around. Clearly, we know where we want to head to and we know what we want to do... we don't know how long it'll take," Mitchell told

    "We've only just started the process, so it's about finishing the process and making sure that we leave the club in a really good position to be able to become one of the best clubs in this competition again."

    4. Reds in Argentina, Cooper in Brisbane

    The Reds are on a roll, but even consecutive wins against the Brumbies and Bulls can't stop the debate raging over new coach Brad Thorn's controversial sidelining of Wallabies star playmaker Quade Cooper, who will be captaining little Brisbane club Souths this weekend while his team-mates are in Buenos Aires to face the Jaguares.

    Wallabies great Matt Giteau said on Thursday that the talents of Cooper, 29, are being wasted and if Thorn doesn't want him, he should be allowed to go to another Super Rugby club.

    "I think he brings so much to a team and obviously if the Reds aren't going to use him, then another franchise should still have the opportunity of getting him," Giteau, one of eight Wallabies to play 100 Tests, told

    "I think it's just a waste for Australian rugby. He should be training with the guys even if he's not going to be picked to play. He's got 70-odd Tests, I'm sure this guy has got something that he can help with."

    5. Lions aim to maul Sunwolves

    The Lions are out to "put things right" when they face Japan's Sunwolves on Saturday after throwing away an 18-point second-half lead against the Blues in a 38-35 defeat last week.

    "We stumbled last week and we are fully aware of the importance of winning all your home games," forwards coach Philip Lemmer told South Africa's Times Live website.

    "We have to set things right this week," he added, but warned the Sunwolves, despite three straight defeats under new coach Jamie Joseph, would be no pushovers in Johannesburg.

    "They played really well against the Brumbies in Tokyo but they weren't as sharp against the Rebels and the Sharks. We expect them to be better this week," said Lemmer.

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