Rebels want to be Australia’s top Super Rugby team

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham says that it is time for the Rebels to make their move and that they want to become Australia’s premier Super Rugby team in 2014.

The Super Rugby club’s expectations have risen under new coach Tony McGahan and Higginbotham says that mediocrity will not be tolerated in the 2014 Super Rugby season.

“You don’t want to be one of those teams that starts in the comp and struggle to get off the ground,” Higginbotham told the Herald Sun.

“A bit like the Cheetahs, who are doing well now but took awhile to get off the ground.”

“The Force are still working their way up the ladder, and they have been in the competition for a number of years.”

“You don’t want to take too much time doing that – I think you’ve really got to make your mark and pick a year to build and get stuck into it.”

The former Reds star and Wallabies backrower says the Rebels are up for the challenge of winning the Australian Super Rugby conference for the first time this season.

“This is our fourth year of the competition and we are really looking to make inroads,” he said.

“We want to be top of the conference – we’re not looking to just get out there and be tough competition for other teams.

“We’re looking to be top of the competition and that’s our challenge.”

“All the boys are more than willing to put their hand up and have a go at that.”

Higginbotham has enjoyed a full pre-season as he had surgery last and is expected to captain the Rebels in their opening Super Rugby warm up match against the Waratahs in Albury.

“I had the surgeries in June so I had my rehab from there and then straight into pre-season,” he said.

“I haven’t done a pre-season in a long time and I don’t particularly want to think about doing one again.

“Playing games is the best part about being a footballer, so I am looking forward to it.”

The Rebels have enjoyed a good pre-season and only four players did not take part in full training.

“We didn’t have any Wallabies go away this season, which is disappointing,” he said.

“But the positive of that is we have had a full 14-week pre-season to all train and gel together.

“A lot of training has been about playing 15 on 15 football, so it’s great to have those sort of numbers.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Higginbotham was recently appointed as Rebels captain for 2014 as last season’s captain Gareth Delve has moved on.

Higginbotham was still playing for the Reds in 2012 and he says that having only played one season for the Rebels he had a steep learning curve.

“I think you need to voice yourself a bit more now, which is kind of hard,” he said.

“Coming from Queensland, I didn’t have much of a leadership role there.”

“But I was sort of swung straight into it when I came down here last year.”

“I’ve embraced it – being on-field captain last year was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to that this year.”

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