Week 9 of Super Rugby AU will only have a Saturday & Sunday Game. There is no Friday night rugby until Round 10. As the Queensland Reds travel to Perth. So they end their regular season undefeated v Western Force. Before the Grand Final.
But this Sunday match up focuses on Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies. So far the away side have one win against them in Week 3. When Brumbies held off by three points at home (27-24). Thanks to a 50 meter penalty kick from Ryan Longeran.
Now the Rebels want revenge this time on home soil. Having won the last two games against them at home only. One in 2020 during Round 6 at a natural ground in Sydney. And another one from Round 4 on March 8 2019 (29-26). Safe to say that they have the home ground advantage. As the Rebels need to win their last two games. In order to finish 3rd & face v Brumbies again in the Qualifying Final.
Matt Gibbon replaces Cabous Eloff at loosehead prop. Where he joins Pone Faamasulli in his other dial. As James Hanson stays at hooker. Robert Leota & Trevor Hosea remains behind the Rebels front three. Josh Kemeny & Richard Hardwick in the flanker roles. Before Michael Wells rounds off this forward line.
Joe Powell & Matt Toomua in the 9/10 combo. Followed by the two speedsters on the wing. It is Marika Koroibete & Frank Lomani. Campbell Magnay joins Stacey Ili at inside centre. And Tom Pincus at full-back. With Reece Hodge out for 10 weeks due to an MCL knee injury last week.
Jordan Uelese behind Hanson. So does Cabous Eloff & Cameron Orr in the prop roles. Lucas Sordoni & Ross Haylett-Petty on the backup second row. Isi Naisarani at loose forward. James Tuttle at reserve No.9. With Lewis Holland & Glen Vaihu makes up the Rebels 23 squad as utility back.
Scott Sio displaced James Slipper at loosehead prop. With Allan Alaalatoa remains at tighthead. Alongside Folau Faingaa as the starting hooker. Darcy Swain & Caderyn Neville in the second row. Rob Valetini shifted to No.8. As James Tucker & Rory Scott fills in. Both on the respective blindside & openside roles.
Ryan Longeran at scrum-half ahead of Nic White who deserves a rest. While Noah Lolesio remains in No.10. Tom Wright & Andy Muirhead placed on each wing. Bayley Kuenzle & Len Ikitau in the midfield. And Tom Banks at full-back.
Lachlan Longeran at reserve hooker behind Faingaa. James Slipper & Tom Ross in the props. Nick Frost as backup for Swain/Neville. Will Miller back on short-term at loose forward. Nic White at half-back. As Reesjan Pasitoa & Mack Hansen rounds off their 23 man squad.
Rebels have a great start with the defensive setup. Where they did win penalties as early as possible. Thanks to the kicking specialist off the boot of Matt Toomua. But just needs to stay patient going forward. It is something that the Rebels struggled last week v Force. As they were unable to unpack their executions. And that ultimately cost them the winning opportunity they badly need.
Brumbies are on the same page too as the Rebels. They also too experienced a brilliant fire off. Such as the early maximum points earned to try and stay ahead. However they do need to bridge that 2nd half consistency. Where they blew some penalties. Before the Reds haunted them with a two-point narrow loss. It is a weakness they must address between now and the Playoffs time. Or else they are forced to settle in 2nd spot.
The tip would go to the Brumbies who will win v Rebels by 13 points. And the home side will have to work harder. Ahead of Round 10 v Waratahs away next weekend.