Stirzaker: ‘We weren’t physical enough’

Rebels scrum-half Nic Stirzaker says they need to make their physical presence felt against the Force in Melbourne on Sunday, this after head coach Tony McGahan questioned his side’s physicality in last week's loss to the Chiefs.

With McGahan’s criticism still ringing in their ears following the 36-15 defeat, the Rebels are eager to bounce back in the local derby against a physically strong Perth outfit.

The Rebels conceded 26 first-half points against the 2013 champions before responding after the break to outscore the New Zealand Conference leaders 12-10 in the second-half.

"We can’t argue with him (Tony McGahan), the speed of ball the Chiefs were getting showed us we weren’t physical enough at the contest and in the tackle in the first half," Stirzaker said in an official Rebels release.

"They were getting quick ball and running over the top of us, it definitely stings but there’s nothing we can do about it now except to front up and bounce back for this week (against the Force).

"We showed in the second half that we could have made it competitive at the back end but it’s about being on at the start, particularly in those away games."

The captain also added that there was no discussion about hypothetical scenarios as the season reaches the business end, rather the Rebels are squarely focused on themselves as they prepare for the Force.

The Rebels host a Force side that are coming off a narrow 17-13 defeat to the Blues in a spirited performance.

"There’s no talk (about finals), the talk is about bouncing back for ourselves, we need to put out a good performance and we’re really hungry to do that," he said.

"This week is important to worry about ourselves and really focus on what we’re doing and how we can front up physically and off the back of that complete some really good attacking play."