It’s been a disruptive few days for the Melbourne Rebels.
A spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne has forced the side into a ‘bubble’ comprising of players, coaches, and select staff.
But playing rugby during a global pandemic hasn’t been Michael Wells’ only concern.
“I just had a uni exam this morning. I logged into it around 7:30am just at the start of the training day.
“It’s a nice distraction I guess; it makes you focus on something else because obviously so much of what is going on is uncontrollable.
“Having an aspect of your life like study where you can control the effort you’re putting into it… it’s a welcome distraction at times.”
The backrower is in his final year of a law degree. Fair to say governance has been on the 27-year-old’s mind, with seven law variations being implemented ahead of the Super Rugby AU season.
2018 World referee of the year Angus Gardner was at the club this week to officiate a scratch match and help players adjust to the changes.
Wells has a particular interest in new interpretations surrounding the breakdown.
“I guess the biggest change was just the breakdown, it was literally someone gets hands on ball, they’re probably going to get rewarded with a penalty.
“They’re really rewarding speed to the breakdown, I think for us that’s going to highlight our breakdown presence.
“Attacking wise you can’t be slow, you have to be really fast. Defensively, if you have a good on-ball presence you’re really going to get pay out of it.
“I think that was the biggest thing about having Gus (Gardner) here, just to be exposed to those new rules because it’s different watching it in the New Zealand comp."
The Rebels will launch their Super Rugby AU season against Wells’ former side the Brumbies on July 4 in Canberra.
The Brumbies were the in-form Australian team when the Super Rugby competition was suspended back in March.
They sat top of the Australian conference with five wins from six games and defeated the Rebels 39 to 26 in Round 2.
But Wells says the new competition is a chance for a fresh start.
“The Brumbies were hitting their straps and they were the team to beat in the last comp. But there’s been a lot of water under the bridge in the last 8 to 10 weeks.
“To be honest everyone’s had a lot of time to prep so you could see a really different aspect to games.
“You could see teams come out and be completely different to what they were so it’s really anyone’s game at this stage.”
Wells also confirmed the intensity has lifted at training, less than two weeks out from the Rebels’ clash with the Brumbies.
The backrower is sporting a black eye after copping some friendly fire on the track yesterday.
“It’s nice having some certainly around this first game.“I guess for us, when we were training without a lot of certainty you lose the energy and motivation a little bit.
“It’s obviously nice now to go ‘were definitely playing’ and actually have a goal to aim for which makes it a bit more attainable and the motivation comes back. “