Melbourne skipper Nic Stirzaker says close enough won’t be good enough for the remainder of the Super Rugby season.
The Rebels almost upset competition frontrunners, the Chiefs, before being overrun in the final five minutes at AAMI Park with the Kiwi team posting two late tries for a 27-14 scoreline.
League convert Marika Koroibete scored his first Super Rugby try since joining from the Melbourne Storm, while the whole team showed the physicality that had been missing from their first two outings.
While happy that they had delivered an improved performance on their opening games, where they conceded a combined 127 points, Stirzaker was well aware his team was still winless and anchoring the Australian ladder.
“We take a lot of belief out of the way we played given that we gave ourselves every chance to win the game,” Stirzaker said.
“We’re not too far behind (on the ladder) but we are still on zero points and chasing our first win and we’re pretty keen to get that next week.”
They next face the Waratahs at AAMI Park on Friday night which would give them the ideal chance to book a victory before having to travel to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders.
Stirzaker said he hoped their improvement against the Chiefs could be a sign of better things to come.
“We would like to draw a line through the first two weeks and try and use this game to build forward and push against the Waratahs,” he said.
“We play at home and it will be good to have two at home in a row.”
Another positive that the Rebels could take out of the match was that they came through unscathed after suffering a glut of injuries during training and in their first two matches.