CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Rugby enthusiasts are privileged to be living through an era of exceptional New Zealand talent that explains their overwhelming dominance over Australian counterparts in Super Rugby, Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has said.
Kiwi dominance over the Antipodean rivals in the competition continued on Saturday as the Canterbury Crusaders beat the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
The Crusaders win extended the number of matches to 36 since an Australian side last beat a New Zealand team — almost two years ago.
“I think there is a generation of New Zealand players at the moment who are just exceptional,” said Wessels when asked to explain the run. “Some of the media coverage has probably not celebrated just how good some of those players are.
“Look at the Hurricanes; when they didn’t play Beauden Barrett, they didn’t go so good.
“There are just some exceptional players that rugby should take a little bit more time to savour and celebrate and I guess to enjoy because they are not going to last forever.”
The Rebels, who headed back home at the weekend after losing in Cape Town to the Stormers on Friday, are the next Australian team up against Kiwi opposition.
They host top-of-the table Crusaders in Melbourne on Friday.
“It is our job to knock those guys off and we are working very hard to do that,” Wessels said. “We are obviously looking forward to playing the Crusaders, who have more of those sort of players.”
Rebels captain Adam Coleman said the losing streak was not a topic of discussion in the team.
“There is an opportunity to play against them this weekend in front of our own fans,” he said.
The New South Wales Waratahs were the last Australian team to beat a New Zealand side, back in May 2016, when they overcame the Waikato Chiefs 45-25 in Sydney.
The Waratahs take on the injury-plagued Auckland Blues in Brookvale, Sydney on Saturday with realistic hopes of ending the losing streak.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly