Planet Rugby

Preview: Waratahs v Rebels

28th February 2013 08:50

Share:

Dave Dennis Waratahs v Rebels 2012

Waratahs: Haven't lost to the Rebels in four previous encounters

The Melbourne Rebels travel to Sydney for their Super Rugby encounter with the Waratahs on Friday, with both sides looking to avoid back-to-back defeats.

The Rebels hit the harbour city with a 1-1 record for the season so far to face a Waratahs team who have come off the bye and a narrow 25-17 loss to the Reds.

Michael Cheika's troops mounted a strong comeback in Brisbane to level the scores after trailing 17-3 and will have learned from the experience, as they now look forward to improving their 4-0 head to head against the Rebels this week.

The Rebels, who chalked up the earliest win of their three wins against the Force, stayed with the Brumbies before being comprehensively dismissed in the second-half last week.

The Brumbies showed no mercy, running over the Rebels so brutally that by full time Damien Hill had used his entire bench. The most notable replacement was the injection of hooker Shota Horie, the first Japanese player to play in Super Rugby.

Largely keeping to themselves with local derbies, both sides will want some points on the board before facing their first inter-conference opponents. The Waratahs will be looking to reclaim some credibility.

The Rebels had some starch about them against the Force but quality opposition last week suggests that victory could well be a false dawn. Thus, the context of the game will make it more important than it seems on paper.

In the first of their two games last year the Waratahs won in a penalty ridden affair at AAMI Park. The return leg was equally unflattering for the Rebels. The Waratahs demonstrating some excellent running rugby before the Rebels fought back to go down by nine points.

The Waratahs have some exciting players who bring a mass of potential which will be hard for the Rebels to contain. They'll go at the Rebels from the first whistle through Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Both can hit the advantage line hard and also incise their way through the stoutest of defensive lines.

The Rebels will need to snuff out the Waratahs attack by curtailing the time and space of playmaker Bernard Foley. Committing fewer players to the breakdown will be crucial to the Rebels, so they can get an extra loose forward upon him quickly.

If there is a weakness in the Waratahs line-up, it is the inclusion of rugby league convert Israel Folau, whose explosive speed and agility can be compromised by his developing game smarts.

The Waratahs will likely tie up the Rebels in the forwards and choke supply to the Melbourne backs for they do have the talent to score out wide through the likes of opportunist winger Richard Kingi.

Key for them will be rendering Beale ineffective at fly-half, and dominating possession. The Rebels showed they can be physically taxed against the Brumbies, so watch for the Waratahs to build copious amounts of phase play to tire them.

Prediction: The Rebels continue to show glimpses of their true talent but they still lack the consistency and their set-piece remains patchy. The Waratahs all-around game hasn't completely emerged but depth of squad and technical superiority make them the more favoured side this week. Waratahs by five points!

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Dave Dennis (c), 6 Michael Hooper, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Mitchell Chapman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola.

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

Date: Friday, March 1
Kick-off: 19:20 (08:20 GMT)
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)Prediction: The Rebels continue to show glimpses of their true talent but they still lack the consistency and their set-piece remains patchy. The Waratahs all-around game hasn't completely emerged but depth of squad and technical superiority make them the more favoured side this week. Waratahs by five points!

By Paul Roberton

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26