Planet Rugby

Preview: Rebels v Brumbies

21st February 2013 12:27

Share:

Ben Mowen Brumbies v Rebels 2012

Rebels & Brumbies: Full of confidence

The Rebels and the Brumbies head into Friday's Super Rugby encounter as the unbeaten teams in the Australian conference.

The Brumbies made short work of the Reds, who have been the yard stick of the conference in recent years. The Rebels by comparison had a patchy performance to claim the points against the Western Force.

The Rebels, buoyed with the return of several key players from rest and injury, showed signs they're shedding the tag of easy beats. While they were far from clinical, their forwards were robust and their backs competent. They dropped plenty of ball and gave away silly penalties and were also blighted by the sin-binning of start recruit Scott Higginbotham who was a too enthusiastic at the breakdown.

The Brumbies though, have put the conference on notice and with the standard of their game against the Reds. Their hustle and bustle kept their more fancied opponents at bay. The return of influential playmaker Christian Lealiifano at inside centre and the injection of former Western Force flanker David Pocock into the back row have given the team two go-to players in pivotal moments.

Counting the pre-season, the Brumbies are travelling 3-0 with wins against the Force and the ACT amateur representative side in addition to the Reds last week. The Rebels are travelling 1-2 after credible loses to the Waratahs and the Highlanders in the preseason, and their seven-point victory over the Force.

In their two encounters last season, the Brumbies triumphed. The Brumbies humbled the Rebels on a wintery Canberra night. They ran the Rebels in the forwards and the backs. When the Rebels hosted the return encounter, the match was far closer. Outscored two tries to one, the Rebels scored late through a Cooper Vuna try but couldn't peg back the lead to go down by eight points.

It's hard to predict what kind of game we'll get from these sides based on last week.

The Brumbies clearly played a higher quality opponent. One can expect the Brumbies to unleash the fire power of the front 10, particularly with scrum-half Nick White and inside centre Christian Lealiifano respectively organising their forwards and midfield up the ground.

The Rebels will need the trio of Scott Higginbotham, Gareth Delve and new blindside flanker Scott Fuglistaller to get the job done in close to nullify David Pocock and will need to look wide quickly for their scoring opportunities through Kurtley Beale's spiral passes.

Prediction: The Brumbies have the better form and have proven it against a classier opponent. They also have greater depth. The Rebels will push them, and push them very hard. They'll also have to stay very cool and clinical to come close. The Brumbies to win by 7, with a bonus point!

The teams:

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

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 David Pocock, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Tevita Kuridrani.

Date: Friday, 22 February
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19:40 (08:40 GMT)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

By Paul Roberton

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 Wasps15:00
London Irish vs Bath15:00
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs Northampton13:00
London Welsh vs Leicester Tigers15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South Africa15:00
Scotland vs Tonga14:30
Ireland vs Australia16:30
Wales vs New Zealand17:30
England vs Samoa19:00
France vs Argentina21:00
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 Leinster14:30
Edinburgh vs Cardiff Blues16:00
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