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Preview: Rebels v Kings

12th April 2013 07:42

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rebels fans

Rebels fans: Haven't had much to cheer about in 2013

The Rebels and Kings will face off for the first time on Saturday, in the most 'like-for-like' Super Rugby encounter for either team.

The Melbourne outfit used to measure their long-term development against the Force, being the next most recent franchise before the Kings emerged. Now, the Kings will seek to emulate and surpass the Rebels as soon as possible.

The Rebels sit in 12th position on the log while the Kings are 14th. One win separates them, with the Rebels bonus-point victory against the Force providing the difference.

Coincidently, both the Rebels and Kings have accrued their winning bonus points at the expense of the Western Australian franchise.

The Rebels have returned to AAMI Park after a two-week tour of South Africa, with a stop in Perth to play the Western Force. It was at nib stadium that they finally broke a five-match losing streak, holding on to beat the Force and clinch a bonus point after a near soul-destroying trip against the Sharks and Cheetahs.

As for the Kings, their tour began unsuccessfully after being well beaten by the Crusaders but gave the Hurricanes a run for their money. It took a turn for the better when they drew with log-leaders the Brumbies.

Their composure and discipline to claim the 84th-minute try and three tournament points have dispelled any notion that they were log-point fodder.

The Rebels have regrouped on the back of their win last round. The mood is high in the Rebels camp; with former captain and new assistant coach Stirling Mortlock speaking to the Herald Sun, commenting on their turn-around in fortunes and their opponents.

"There's no doubt it's been a really tough time for the club but from my perspective (it's) really great to see the resilience and the self belief that we showed against the Force," he said.

"The Kings, as they proved last weekend against the Brumbies, are a formidable outfit. They've got quality outside backs, they have massive forwards like every other South African team but their mobility is better than what we're used to seeing from South African teams."

It's hard to make a bet on how the game may pan out, but the contest should be an altogether enthralling one. Both sides have mobile, speedy backs but the difference may come in the stronger, bigger bodied forwards belong to the Kings.

Prediction: The Kings are on the rise. The draw against the Brumbies should have them buoyant and confident. The Rebels, have finally regrouped after a month of infighting and instability on the road. Rebels by three in closely fought match.

The teams:

Rebels: 15 Richard Kingi, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Lachlan Mitchell, 22 Angus Roberts.

Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Siviwe Soyzwapi.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 (11.40 SA time; 09.40 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Richard, Goswell (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)

By Paul Roberton

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