Melbourne Rebels vice-captain Michael Wells is bracing for a backrow battle within his own backyard, as competition for spots heats up on the training paddock.
Sporting a black eye from a recent training ground mishap, Wells told Melanie Kawa on the ‘Convos with Kawa’ podcast that the backrow was the most heavily contested set of position sin the Rebels squad.
“Some of the guys like Dickie (Richard Hardwick) particularly is someone who’s made great steps forward in backing his ability and its really good to see particularly last week, he had a great game.
“I think particularly Kem (Josh Kemeny), he’s had 2 caps now and he’s really hit the ground running and it’s a great addition because obviously, we have got plenty of back row strength.
With a few players still yet to return from injury and others impressing off the bench, Wells suggested that there may be a few selection headaches ahead for the coaching staff.
“We have even got Isi (Naisarani) and Brad (Wilkin) to come back.
There’s plenty of competition for spots and then I think Trev (Hosea) had a great game against the Red’s as well.
“It’s great to see those guys come through particularly for someone like Trev who’s a Melbourne boy, means a whole lot to him and his really representing himself and his family and the state really well.”
Wells has made an immediate impact since coming from the Waratahs at the end of 2019, but expressed a desire to focus more on his attack as he looks to develop his game.
“I have been working pretty hard just my attacking side of the ball,” Wells claimed. “I’ve always been pretty happy with my defensive side and I think being a bit more of an attacking threat.
“Hopefully we can get a few opportunities down in the wider channels connecting with our backs because obviously we got a pretty star-studded backline and that’ll open great opportunities.
“If we can get a fair bit of ball out there then hopefully that part of my game kind of shines through.
Attacking is not foreign to Wells’ game with the 27-year-old having emerged from a Rugby 7’s background – representing the Australian 7’s from 2014-2019.
Having to develop both an attacking and defensive side to his game, Well’s says his 7’s experience has helped his transition into Super Rugby.
“Obviously 7’s helps with all these skills and magnified with half the amount of players on the field.
“It definitely makes you hone your technical skills, your tackle and I guess you have to get up pretty quickly in 7’s if you lay on the ground too long they probably score a couple of tries past you.”
Having made an instant influence since arriving at the Rebels, Wells has already been awarded with a leadership role.
Presented with the vice-captaincy by coach Dave Wessels on the eve of the Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition, Wells says he hopes to lead by his actions.
“It’s kind of come on since the Super Rugby AU, Dave mentioned it to me and obviously, it’s a great honour and a privilege.
“I’ve enjoyed that but I think I kind of deferred to the real leaders like Dane and Pup (Matt To’omua); they run a lot more of the show and I kind of know my place and only speak when I need to.
“It’s nice to have that sort of leadership role and if blokes listen to you it’s all the better but I think I’m probably more someone who tries to lead from their actions first and your voice will probably pick up from there.
“You probably have got to earn the right to speak first and then you can take it from there.”
The Rebels will look to secure its first win of their Vodafone Super Rugby AU campaign when they take on the NSW Waratahs at the SCG on Friday night.