‘We want to be there’ – Stirzaker

Date published: May 9 2016

The Rebels fine form of late could see them make the play-offs for the first time in their brief Super Rugby history. 

The Melbourne side, who have been the surprise package since their 21-17 Round Six victory over the Waratahs in Sydney, have a lot more riding on Friday's fixture against the Brumbies.

They have won five and lost four from their nine matches which puts them two points adrift the two table-topping Brumbies and Waratahs. 

Should they lose to the Canberra side on Friday their chances of making that maiden play-off appearance will not only come down to mathematics but also depend on the outcome of other results.

Captain Nic Stirzaker is by no means talking down how important this week's clash is for them. 

Despite playing at home, the scrum-half believes that the Brumbies will be on top of their game.

"It's a really tight Australian conference and it's where we want to be," Stirzaker told the Canberra Times.

"We want to be right in the conversation about where things are at [for finals] and we now have a big game against the Brumbies on Friday night.

"I guess it would be [season-defining] and it would be for all the clubs, but we are pretty focused on this Friday night. 

"These Australian conference games are the ones you want to get up for."

The Rebels won't have it any easier after their potential season-defining encounter against two-time champions with some of their remaining matches seeing them come up against the Chiefs, Stormers and Crusaders.

Stirzaker believes that the Brumbies defensive structure is their strong suit and they will have to be at their attacking best to match the powerful Canberra side's defence.

"The battle of the back rows will be really good as we have a lot of depth in that position and they have a lot of world-class players like David Pocock and Scott Fardy," he said.

"Against the Brumbies you need to be on your kicking game and get the ball out of your own half as they are really good at pressuring.

"When they dominate possession and territory they tend to dominate the game so it's something we'll be working hard on this week."