His team are battered and bruised, but Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels offers no sympathy following an expensive 16-15 loss in Super Rugby to Western Force on Friday.
Tim Anstee’s late try and Domingo Miotti’s conversion put the Force in the lead before Rebels back Reece Hodge missed a late goal in a wild final at AAMI Park.
Hodge was injured in the latter game as Anstee attempted to charge the kick while previous captain Matt To’omua was bloodied and stunned in a sickening clash with Force against Kyle Godwin.
The Rebels have dominated most stat categories except the final scoreboard and now face air combat with the Force for third place in the final in the final two rounds.
Wessels was then asked if he would put an arm around his despondent team, who had been beaten by the Queensland Reds the week before.
“I’m not a big hug at the best of times,” Wessels replied.
“I don’t think we need hugs – we have to be harder and when we talk about things we have to perform them.”
To’omua finished the match on the sidelines and said he failed his HIA.
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But the playmaker said he had “recovered well” from a “big bang” and “would be fine in a few days.”
“Visibly disappointed with this game,” the Wallabies veteran told Stan Sport.
“That’s the main thrill. I’m probably glad it wasn’t on Gem to be honest, it was a bit of a rambling game. Disappointing. He’s definitely the one that got away.”
All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens has said the potential loss of To’omua and Hodge will be a hammer blow to the rebels.
“Losing these two key players will really affect their next two games, if they lose them,” Mehrtens said.
“I think he’s going to have to take some tests, Matt To’omua. It was pretty obvious that he had taken a little hit and was a little wobbly on his feet.”
Friday’s setbacks only add to an already long list of injuries that includes Dane Haylett-Petty, Isi Naisarani, Campbell Magnay, Cameron Orr and Lachie Anderson.
“We have an unfortunate number of people who are injured,” said Wessels unmoved, adding that many on that list were about to return.
This includes club skipper Haylett-Petty, who has been cleared to return to contact training after a long-term struggle with concussion symptoms.
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