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Damien Hill credit squad as the Melbourne Rebels topple the Western Force

Last Updated: 15/02/13 5:32pm

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Rebels coach Damien Hill has praised his side for their response as they fought back to beat the Western Force in the opening match of the new Super Rugby season.

The Rebels had been trailing 11-0 as the Force came storming out the blocks, however tries from Ged Robinson, Hugh Pyle and Richard Kingi, plus 15 points from James O'Connor saw them to a 30-23 victory.

"In the first 20 minutes, we chose not to treasure possession and then the discipline started to go as fatigue started to build," Hill said.

"For the first 30 minutes, we were on the back foot but, to the players' credit, they were able to go into the second half still in the game."
Rebels coach Damien Hill

"For the first 30 minutes, we were on the back foot but, to the players' credit, they were able to go into the second half still in the game.

Tough

"The second half, while not as clinical as we would have liked, was better."

The Force's cause was not helped by the sin-binnings of flanker Chris Alcock and then scrum-half Alby Mathewson which left them down to 13 men for seven minutes.

However coach Michael Foley refused to blame the incidents for the loss.

"The referees have warned us they are going to be particularly tough early in the season because they want to see the game open up," he said.

"If we've infringed and they've made those decisions, we accept that."

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