Planet Rugby

Preview: Rebels v Brumbies

27th March 2014 07:18

Share:

jesse mogg brumbies v rebels

One-sided? Rebels v Brumbies

The Rebels face a daunting task as they welcome high-flying Australian Conference leaders the Brumbies to Melbourne on Friday.

Impotency continues to blight Tony McGahan's men, as the try-shy Rebels struggled to break down opposition defences during a run of three defeats, including a thumping by rivals the Western Force. The likes of Luke Burgess, Tamati Ellison and Jason Woodward featuring in the backline mean the franchise's attack should not be so blunt. But at the moment, they run the risk of becoming Super Rugby's answer to Italy - try-hards lacking quality and incisiveness out wide, relying heavily on an inspirational skipper at number eight.

The Waratahs dished out a 32-8 beating in Sydney last week, and there is nothing to suggest the Brumbies - who halted the 'Tahs' winning streak - will be an easier proposition, even on home turf. Indeed, if Michael Cheika's side defended well, the boys from Canberra are likely to present an even more impregnable rearguard for the Rebels' ineffectual offence to negotiate.

Of greater concern to the Rebels is the fixtures list. It's tough to see where the points and the wins will come from. Their next match, away to the Highlanders, may offer a reprieve, but you wouldn't bet on it just now. Then they travel to the defending champions in Waikato, before welcoming the in-form Force and the table-topping Sharks to AAMI Park.

With experienced utility back Lachlan Mitchell ruled out for the season this week, McGahan has named Tom Kingston on the right wing, with newly-re-signed scrum-half Nic Stirzaker replacing Wallaby Burgess at nine. Prop Laurie Weeks has recovered from a head knock to start at tighthead, while concussion rules out Toby Smith; Max Lahiff comes in at loosehead.

For the Brumbies, Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham have picked up admirably from where Jake White left off, their only defeat - and a shock one at that - coming in Round One when the Quade Cooper-inspired Reds raided Canberra. Since then, there have been good wins over the Force, Hurricanes, and Stormers, as well as an especially noteworthy victory over the Waratahs. This is despite a lengthy injury list, and the desperately sad loss of David Pocock for another season.

Their back-line is a dangerous one, where the flair of in-form Jesse Mogg, the reinstated Tevita Kuridrani and Matt Toomua combine with the steady pragmatism of Pat McCabe. Veteran hooker Stephen Moore leads the charge up front.

Prediction: The Rebels have beaten the Brumbies only once from six attempts. That was three years ago. Hoodoos are made to be broken (just look at that Round One win for the Reds), but McGahan's men won't break their duck on Friday. The visitors should win, and handsomely. An 18 point margin is our shout.

The teams:

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham , 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emilie, 18 Cruze Ah-Nau, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Male Sa'u, 23 Angus Roberts

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Christian Lealiifano

Date: Friday 28th March
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 1940 local, 0840 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees, James Leckie (both Aus)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Aus)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Preview
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs WaspsExeter vs Wasps Preview
London Irish vs BathLondon Irish vs Bath Preview
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Preview
Scotland vs TongaScotland vs Tonga Preview
Ireland vs AustraliaIreland vs Australia Preview
Wales vs New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Preview
England vs SamoaEngland vs Samoa Preview
France vs ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Dragons vs MunsterDragons vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Preview
Connacht vs ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
Tonga 40 - 12 USATonga vs USA Report
Wales 17 - 13 FijiWales vs Fiji Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 18 - 20 ArgentinaItaly vs Argentina Report
Canada 13 - 23 SamoaCanada vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
LV= Cup
Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Sunday , November 9
Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish
London Welsh 9 - 18 Gloucester
Leicester 29 - 13 Sale SharksLeicester vs Sale Sharks Report
More LV= Cup results
International Match
Saturday , November 8
Italy 24 - 13 SamoaItaly vs Samoa Report
Wales 28 - 33 AustraliaWales vs Australia Report
England 21 - 24 New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand Report
Georgia 9 - 23 TongaGeorgia vs Tonga Report
Ireland 29 - 15 South AfricaIreland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720