Tomorrow night sees the Rebels host Western Force in Melbourne. They won two of their five games so far. Despite their loss v Reds last week. A win here would mean a step closer to the Finals.
Well at least for the the Qualifying Final game. Where the 2nd v 3rd best fuel for that one Final spot against the top ranked team. Rebels have won the last three games against Force. Both at home and away. While the Force desperately need a win in order to stay in contention for 3rd.
The Perth based side has won one game v Waratahs in Week 3 away. Nearly got themselves on the finish line against the Rebels at home. And Reds on their turf in Week 5. But have a tough last game out v Brumbies in Canberra. The last time the Force beat Rebels in Melbourne was Week 8. That was on the 12th June 2015 at 11-13. And the overall game v Rebels was Week 16 on 7th July 2017 in Perth, 31-22.
Cabous Eloff & Pone Faamasulli in the props. With James Hanson as the starting hooker. Rob Leota dispatches Steve Cummins on the second row. Where he will join Trevor Hosea at five. Josh Kemeny, Richard Hardwick & Michael Wells as back rowers. So that is the Rebels forward line-up for tomorrow.
Joe Powell & Matt Toomua in the 9 & 10 combination. Two flying Fijian born stars on the wing. Such as Marika Koroibete on the left. And Frank Lomani in the opposite dial on the right flank. Lewis Holland gets his first start at inside centre. Stacey Ili remains alongside Holland in the Rebels midfield. And Reece Hodge moved to 15.
Jordan Uelese pushed down to reserve hooker by Hanson. Matt Gibbon & Lucio Sordoni in the props. Steve Cummins is also dispatched by Rob Leota at reserve lock. Brad Wilkin as loose forward. James Tuttle behind Joe Powell. Tom Pincus usually at full-back over the past few weeks. Now as backup fly-half or 15 if needed. Before Jeral Skelton rounds off the Rebels 23 match day squad v Force.
Tom Robertson slots in at loosehead. And Santiago Medrano alongside him at tighthead. Felati Kaitu’u has the usual throw-in. Behind that front three is Jeremy Thrush & Sitaleki Timani. Then Fergus Lee-Warner on the blindside & Kane Koteka on the openside. Before Tomas Lezana replaces Brynard Stander at 8.
Tomas Cubelli at half-back. Where he is joined by fellow Argentine Domingo Milotti in 1st five-eighth. Jordan Olowofela & Bryon Ralston on the wings. Kyle Godwin & Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield. As Jack McGregor ticks off the Force XV v Rebels.
Andrew Ready now back after he served his three-game ban. Angus Wagner & Jack Winchester in the props. Kieran Longbottom as lock. Ryan McCauley at Flanker/Number 8. Now the next two are also forwards. But had to fill-in due to plenty of injuries in their backline. Such as Tim Anstee & Brynard Stander. Before Ian Prior rounds off the bench for tomorrow.
Rebels knows how to connect the attack on occasions. Having eventually settled into the game. But fell behind when firing off. Where they picked up plenty of ill-discipline. And not enough time to bounce back. The home team need to score early as soon as it started. Otherwise they will struggle like last week & it will cost them.
While the Force also need to cut the lost penalties as well. It really limited their chances to get going with the possession on hand. With no score made in the first 40. They did get going in the 2nd half alone which was not enough. Once again the Force need a way to build a competitive lead early. Before it is too late.
It is 3rd v 4th placed sides to duel in the 2021 Super Rugby AU. One of them will step forward and look to hold on for that Qualifying Final berth. But I will go for the Rebels to win by six points. And step closer to the Playoffs for their 2nd year.