Holland expects physical Rebels response

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Holland said he knew that from having worked with their coach Tony McGahan in Ireland and they would have been disappointed with their loss to the Blues.

One thing could be assured, Holland said, and that was the Rebels wouldn't be short on effort and physicality.

"We've just got to be clever, do the basics and hold onto the ball and make good decisions," he said.

Holland said there had been several things to look at from the game, one had been the execution around skillsets had been a key.

"The Japanese boys were a little under-prepared in their defence which made things a little easier for us but by the same token we executed things really well in that first 60 and some of our basic skills, we kept grinding them out for 60 minutes," he said.

In taking conclusions from the game it had to be acknowledged the Sunwolves had little time to prepare compared to the New Zealand sides and as a result their defence was a work in progress.

"What was pleasing was we kept putting pressure on them and doing the right thing at the right time, making good decisions and some of our catch-pass stuff was really good so you don't get carried away but you still take the things we did well out of the game and use them for the following week," he said.

So far as the last 20 minutes were concerned the management were disappointed that after exiting very well from their own half to achieve a 100 percent exit rate, they had become sloppy, giving the ball to the Sunwolves. That wasn't helped by losing No.8 Blade Thomson, when all the substitutes had been used, and then losing Michael Fatialofa with a yellow card to leave them with 13 players.

"We've looked at a few things there that we can definitely improve on and [assistant coach] John Plumtree has a few defensive things he wants to work around the ruck . It was a little bit disappointing we didn't kick on but there were a few things happening around there," he said.

The Hurricanes had got the Sunwolves at what was likely to be their weakest and he didn't believe many teams would put 80 points on them again this year. They had only been together for 17 days, according to coach Filo Tiatia.

"I reckon they'll be competitive in a few weeks time," he said.